Published: 12:36, 28 November 2019
| Updated: 16:03, 29 November 2019
Four GP surgeries have been forced to close following an inspection by the healthcare watchdog.
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.
It follows action from the regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC). The practices must undertake urgent work to meet the required standards of patient care.
All clinical services have now been suspended until further notice.
Since 2016 the number of patients registered at the surgeries has increased by 50% from 6,000 to 9,100.
Alternative arrangements are being made for patients to receive GP services elsewhere locally.
A statement on the Elmdene Surgery website read: "A letter with more details is being sent to all patients.
"In the meantime, if you need to see a GP or nurse, you can attend the Whitehorse Walk-in Centre, Vale Rd, Northfleet, Gravesend DA11 8BZ or for minor injuries, you can attend the Minor Injuries Unit, Bath St, Gravesend DA11 0DG from 8am to 8pm seven days a week."
Patients have been asked only to visit the A&E department at Darent Valley Hospital in an emergency.
A report published by the CQC explained a member of staff alerted assessors of the dispensing error as there wasn't any record of it happening and it had not been raised as a 'significant event' by the surgery.
The surgery is run by the former chairman of Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for all the GP practices in the area, Dr Bhaskar 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.”
Temple Hill ward councillor Alina Gaskin expressed her concern at the closures, which she said would have a "serious impact on residents' access to already overstretched, neighbouring GP surgeries and primary care".
She said: "Although I am not aware the precise reason for the closure, the fact that the medical centre was put into special measures suggests that there was an opportunity to help and support the management of the medical centre in avoiding the situation reaching critical state and avoiding the closures of several surgeries at such a vital time."