Landseer Road GP surgery to close amid doctor recruitment crisis

Landseer Road Surgery Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Landseer Road Surgery Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich GP surgery serving around 3,000 people will close at the end of the year, health bosses have confirmed – leading to fresh fears that patients at nearby surgeries will struggle to get an appointment.

An application was submitted to Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) by the Chesterfield Drive practice to close its branch Landseer Road GP surgery because of problems recruiting GPs.

The report said that “it is no longer possible to provide GP resources at the required level in order to ensure patients have access to a GP during the normal opening hours”.

The surgery is already running on reduced hours because of the issue, and the CCG has now accepted the application to close.

The surgery will shut its doors for the final time on December 21.

A report presented to Suffolk County Council’s health scrutiny committee on Wednesday said that the practice was supporting the GP surgery in Chesterfield Drive – around five miles away on the other side of town – to move its premises to a new facility planned at the Tooks Bakery development.

Liz Harsant, Ipswich borough councillor for the area said: “I am absolutely quite shocked.

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“It seems to put more [pressure] on existing surgeries – the one at Ravenswood it’s already difficult to get an appointment.”

Ms Harsant said more should be done to keep the GP practice open, and added: “I would like to go even further and say how badly a surgery is needed on the Waterfront.”

The CCG said there were spaces at the nearby surgeries so no-one would be left without care.

“The CCG has agreed to the application from Chesterfield Drive GP Surgery to close its branch surgery at Landseer Road,” a spokesman said.

“This branch has been operating at a reduced capacity for some time, with limited GP availability meaning that it has not been possible to provide a full primary care service.

“The challenges facing primary care recruitment are well known and the CCG supports the efforts of the practice to focus its resources on the main Chesterfield Drive surgery so as to provide the best possible care.

“The practice has been very open about the situation and has been proactive in engaging with patients and the wider community over the last few months about the options available.”

Healthwatch Suffolk has been helping the surgery communicate with its patients, alongside the Bangladeshi Support Centre to help a significant portion of Bangladeshi patients.

Andy Yacoub, Healthwatch Suffolk chief executive, said: “We know that the surgery has provided information such as travel and transport, about four other local surgeries, to its patients.

“We understand that some patients registered at Landseer Road are already using Chesterfield Drive Surgery.

“Our impression is that the surgery has taken a reasonable approach in engaging its patients which included the provision of questionnaires in different languages.”

Paul Driscoll, medical director with Suffolk GP Federation, added:

“The national shortage of GPs has been well reported and this is creating problems across the country – not just here in Suffolk. Our priority is to address the challenge in the most effective way, whilst ensuring patients continue to receive the high quality care they need.

“This includes actively supporting practices to promote closer collaboration and new ways of working – including introducing a wider skills mix to draw on the expertise of healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physiotherapists, physician associates and emergency care practitioners,

“We have also introduced a series of training programmes to help promote career development and recruitment, which we hope will increase the numbers of both newly qualified and senior GPs attracted to work in the county.”