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Folkestone GP crisis public meeting won't be attended by NHS Clinical Commissioning Group

By Matt Leclere

NHS bosses have revealed why they will not be attending a public meeting addressing concerns about a town's GP crisis.

Residents in Folkestone are due to meet tonight in a meeting organised by the local Labour Party.

But the South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is overseeing the transfer of 4,500 patients to new practices due to the closure of the Folkestone East Family Practice, will not be there.

Folkestone East Family Practice
Folkestone East Family Practice

Rob Hustwayte, communications manager for the South Kent Coast CCG, told KentOnline: "In terms of the public meeting, it's a party political meeting. The CCG hasn't considered putting on its own public meeting.

"What we are doing is putting on events and these are to help people register with their new practice.

"If people do have questions visit the website. The letters have been sent and gone and should be arriving today or tomorrow and then will have a lot more information.

"People can ask questions and attend the governing body meetings."

The events are being held next week and will take place at Capel-le-Ferne Village Hall on Tuesday (2pm-6pm), Hawkinge Community Centre on Wednesday (12pm-4pm) and Three Hills Sports Park in Folkestone on Thursday (1pm-6pm).

Letters have been sent out to affected patients from the Dover Road practice this week outlining how they can register with their new doctor.

GP services in the town were plunged into crisis in May when managers announced the Folkestone East practice would be handing back its contract and closing on October 31.

Stock picture of GP in a surgery with patient
Stock picture of GP in a surgery with patient

Earlier this month, GPs took a dramatic step in telling the CCG they wanted to close their patient lists and would not be taking any new patients.

According to national NHS guidelines, practices are able to turn down new applicants applying further away from home.

Mr Hustwayte added: "What GPs are doing is managing their patient lists. The CCG can overrule that practice."

Some 3,500 patients have been asked to fill out forms before being "allocated to other GP practices in Folkestone", the CCG said.

A further 1,000 patients live within the boundary of one of four practices which is taking new patients. They are:

  • The White House Surgery, Cheriton
  • The Lyminge Surgery
  • New Lyminge Surgery
  • White Cliffs Medical Practice, Folkestone Road, Dover

Patients living in the catchments areas of those practices will be given the choice about which one they would like to be registered with.

But patients have been told their first choice cannot be guaranteed but "will be taken into consideration".

The public meeting is being held at the Railway Social Club in Canterbury Road, Folkestone at 7.15pm.

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