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Rainham doctor's surgery closes today after patients lose fight to keep it open

By Lizzie Massey

Today is the day nearly 4,000 people had hoped to avoid, as a much-loved doctor’s surgery closes indefinitely after the death of its only GP.

Father-of-two Dr Medhat El-Faramawi died suddenly while on holiday in Egypt on April 6.

His 3,700 patients at Rainham’s Wyvill Close Surgery, and other doctors who were being trained up to continue the practice on his retirement, started a petition to keep the surgery going. But a unilateral decision by NHS England to close the surgery could not be overturned.

MP Rehman Chishti, second left, joined doctors and patients in the fight to keep the surgery open
MP Rehman Chishti, second left, joined doctors and patients in the fight to keep the surgery open

Dr Fras Jerew, one of two doctors keeping the surgery going for the last few weeks, said: “If NHS England really cared about the reputation of the NHS they would put patients first, not finances or politics.

This decision has been made by managers, without asking patients what they want, or listening to them when they spoke out.”

Dr El-Faramawi’s family own the property and according to NHS England, do not wish to keep renting it out as a surgery, but Dr Jerew said: “This closure was clearly decided on day one and that was that. We haven’t had time to really consult Dr El-Faramawi’s family.”

Last week a spokeswoman for NHS England said all patients would be written to with information about how they can register with another practice.

However, some patients have still not received letters, because only one is sent out per household, regardless of how many of Wyvill’s patients are there.

Now patients will have to go elsewhere, with Parkwood Health Centre the closest option. It has more than 7,000 patients on its books.

Stephen Ingram, head of primary care at NHS England (Kent & Medway), said: “We will continue to monitor the situation so we can make further contact with any patients who do not re-register to check that they have all the information they need to do so.”

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