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Doctor speaks out following closure of GP surgeries in Greenhithe, Bean, Darenth and Bexley

A doctor has explained why he has not been at his surgeries which were forced to close at short notice.

Elmdene Surgery in London Road, Greenhithe, along with it branches in Bean, Darenth and Bexley, which provide services to 9,000 patients, have been suspended.

The Elmdene Surgery has suspended services following serious failings identified by the Care Quality Commission. Photo: Google (22857405)
The Elmdene Surgery has suspended services following serious failings identified by the Care Quality Commission. Photo: Google (22857405)

It follows action from the regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC) after concerns were raised about the standards of care provided.

The other practices affected are Bennett Way Surgery in Darenth, New Surgery in Beacon Drive, Bean, and Joydens Wood Medical Centre in Summerhouse Drive, Bexley, which are part of the same group.

They must now undertake urgent work to meet the required standards of patient care.

Registered provider Dr Bhaskar Bora apologised to patients for any inconvenience the closures may cause.

The former chair of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group explained he had been off work following a period of serious ill-health.

Dr Bhaskar Bora is the registered premises manager. (22776705)
Dr Bhaskar Bora is the registered premises manager. (22776705)

He said: “I apologise to patients for any inconvenience this closure may cause.

“I have been off sick since July 17 following complications from surgery which left me paralysed from the waist down. I am still recovering and unable to work full-time.

“My team and I have taken on board all the feedback about the surgery and we are working hard with the CQC to get it back on track. We are hoping to reopen as soon as possible.”

The surgeries' phonelines will remain open during this time.

Alternative arrangements are being made for registered patients to receive services elsewhere.

Patients should contact their GP practice by telephone as usual during office hours and staff will book appointments at other local surgeries.

Those residents who need to see a GP or nurse outside of the normal opening hours for minor illnesses can attend the Whitehorse Walk-in Centre in Vale Road, Northfleet, or the Minor Injuries Unit in Bath Street, Gravesend.

Patients do not need an appointment to use these services and both health facilities are open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

Medical help or advice is also available by calling NHS 111. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, patients should continue to call 999.

Elmdene had been placed under special measures last year after inspectors discovered medicine was being stored incorrectly.

CQC inspectors visited Joydens Wood Medical Centre on November 19 and Elmdene Surgery on November 19-20.

The health regulator decided to take enforcement action after "serious concerns" were raised by inspectors.

The CQC said the provider had the right to appeal and a report would be published in due course.

Head of inspector for general practice Janet Ortega said: “The CQC has taken urgent enforcement action to protect patients who use both Elmdene Surgery in Greenhithe and Joydens Wood Medical Centre in Bexley.

"Both surgeries are the responsibility of the registered provider Dr Bhaskar Jyoti Bora."

A spokesman for the CCG said: “Our priority is to make sure patients can continue to get any care they need and we have put in place alternative arrangements to ensure they can continue to use local GP services.

“We are writing to all registered patients setting out details of how they can get any care they need.”

Read more: All the latests news from Dartford

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Read more: All the latest news from Bexley

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