Fears that Suffolk doctors' surgery could close due to GP shortage
PUBLISHED: 15:58 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 22 January 2020
Fears have been raised that a doctors surgery may be forced to close after its management decided to end its contract due to a lack of GPs.
Suffolk GP Federation, which manages Walton Surgery in Felixstowe, has decided against renewing its contract, which expires in the summer.
The organisation blamed the difficulty in hiring new doctors for its decision - but the move has sparked fears among the community that the surgery may close.
A spokesman for Suffolk GP Federation said: "Last week, as a result of difficulties recruiting permanent GPs, the federation board concluded it is not sustainable for us to continue managing the surgery.
"We have reluctantly, therefore, decided to end our contract for managing the surgery on July 15, 2020.
"We are proud of the care provided by the surgery and its high patient satisfaction.
"However, the difficulties recruiting GPs, which is a national challenge, means we cannot sustainably or safely staff the practice.
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"Suffolk GP Federation have managed the surgery, in High Street, since November 2016.
The organisation said it will be "reviewing all available options to try to identify a sustainable long-term solution" for the surgery's patients.
However, the decision prompted speculation on social media that the surgery would be forced to close.
If Walton Surgery was to close, it would leave just three surgeries for the approximate 30,000 people living in Felixstowe and the Trimleys.
Mike Deacon, town and district councillor, said he has been in contact with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey regarding the issue of "huge pressures" doctors surgeries already face.
He said the planned new housing developments in Felixstowe, Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary would bring more people to the area - raising the desperate need for doctors surgeries.
Mr Deacon added: "I sincerely hope the surgery doesn't close. If it does, a lot of people will be devastated.
"There's likely to be in excess of 1,000 homes being built in the area in the near future.
"It's increasingly difficult to get a doctors' appointment as it is - surgeries are working flat out."