Published: 14:50, 02 November 2017 |
Updated: 15:24, 02 November 2017
Medical chiefs today have warned the GP crisis is deepening, with a surgery in Folkestone with 4,500 patients forced to close its doors this week.
The British Medical Association's (BMA) warning comes as seven in eight GP practices in the town applied to close their lists to new patients due to safety concerns.
The closure of the Folkestone East surgery in Dover Road is a result of severe funding and recruitment problems leaving the practice unable to meet demand.
It includes a large number of vulnerable patients in an area with significant levels of deprivation.
Concern is mounting for the 4,500 patients who face disruption to their care as they are forced to find a new doctor.
Neighbouring practices have already said they are unable to accept new patients over fears they will be unable to provide a safe level of care.
Commenting on the closure, BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: "The closure of this surgery shows just how desperate the situation has become, as funding and recruitment problems have left many practices in the area unable to cope.
"Large numbers of patients now face disruption to their care as other local practices that are already at or over capacity will struggle to take on new patients.
“With nine in ten practices telling us their workloads are unmanageable and a third of GP partners³ unable to fill vacancies, the situation is not confined to Folkestone."
He hit out at the government's recent promise of increased funding and recruitment drives as 'nowhere near enough to resolve the crisis.'
"Urgent action is needed now to alleviate pressures, support struggling practices and ensure patient care is not disrupted by further closures," he added.
Dr Vanessa Goodall, a partner at Folkestone East, lifted the lid on problems surgeries face in recruiting new doctors and vented concern for her patients.
She said: “It was an incredibly difficult decision for us to have to make, but the ever increasing work load and retirement of two senior partners and loss of a part-time doctor put us in an impossible situation.
"Despite advertising for over a year both in the UK and abroad we had not a single applicant.
"Ultimately, the decision to close was made based on patient safety.
“My concern now is for the patients who are being force allocated to local practices that are already full to capacity and facing exactly the same issues as ourselves with spiraling workloads, reduced resources and services and lack of GPs.
“We constantly hear about the crisis facing A&E and other front line services?. But this crisis is being faced by every GP in every surgery every day the length and breadth of Britain.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.