Published: 12:00, 11 September 2019
Thousands of patients are expected to be transferred to different doctor’s surgeries as health bosses hope to close an underperforming practice in six months’ time.
A letter from Heron Medical Practice revealed partners are seeking approval from the Clinical Commissioning Group to close William Street surgery in Herne Bay by the end of March.
It says the decision was made after the building and its facilities had been deemed inadequate by inspectors.
“Our plan is to seek approval from the Clinical Commissioning Group to close William Street Surgery at the end of March 2020. "The doctors and staff will move to our other sites," the missive read.
“The reasons why we are planning to do this are because the premises at William Street have been assessed as being below a suitable standard for the delivery of primary care services (‘Red Rated'), and because other suitable nearby premises are available to patients.”
The letter says patients will able to choose between registering at St Anne’s, Beltinge and Reculver or Hersden Surgery – all of which are run by Heron Medical Practice.
In addition, it stresses doctors from the group will be working across all of the sites.
Before the letter was sent out last month, consultations were held with the practice’s patient participation group and surveys were handed out at William Street Surgery’s reception.
“To create capacity for patients we are planning to reconfigure Beltinge Surgery to include three more consultation rooms and create a new administration hub, which will create space at St Anne’s for a further two additional consultations rooms,” the letter added.
“The benefits of reconfiguration are: more appointments for GPs, more appointments for nurses and a wider range of services at all sites.”
When the St Anne's and William Street surgeries merged last year, plans for the latter's closure had been mooted.
Comparisons were made between it and the merging of the Coach House and Park Surgeries at the beginning of 2018, but Dr Simon Dunne insisted the decision had not been made for "any emergency reasons".
However, patients still have concerns about the planned closure.
Kim Holden, a committee member of the patient participation group, said: “I understand the surgery isn’t fit for purpose and that it’s much too small, so something needs to be done.
“But there is some concern with where the patients are going to go.
“We’re trying to find out where people are likely to go - if they're going to be at St Anne’s or Beltinge or even Hersden.”
The patient participation group will be holding a meeting about the closure between 1.30pm and 4pm next Tuesday, September 17.
It will take place at Christ Church in William Street, Herne Bay and be attended by some of the practice's partners.