Gainsborough MP asks Health Secretary to prioritise the lack of GPs

Pottergate Surgery, Gainsborough.
Pottergate Surgery, Gainsborough.

The MP for Gainsborough has asked the Health Secretary to prioritise the lack of GPs in the town.

Sir Edward Leigh has written to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, asking him to treat the crisis as urgent and stated that it needs immediate action.

Sir Edward said: “We already face a shortage of 80 GPs in Lincolnshire.

“Only six out of 30 vacant places in the Lincolnshire GP Vocational Training Scheme were filled in 2015/16.

“The inability to fill these roles will have a deleterious knock-on effect with each passing year – all at a time when GPs are retiring at an alarming rate.

“The lack of access to General Practitioners, aside from the real irritations it will cause, will lead to poorer health outcomes across the board as well as putting A and E departments under further strain.”

This follows the announcement that four Lincolnshire GP surgeries will close in the New Year, including the Pottergate Surgery, on Vanessa Drive.

New providers were not found in time to take over management of the practices after Universal Health Ltd asked the NHS to end its contract on August 1 due to financial difficulties.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire West CCG said: “There is no doubt there are pressures in primary care – not just in Lincolnshire but across the country.

“We are working tirelessly to attract GPs to this area and are pleased to say, through an international GP recruitment scheme with Lincolnshire Medical Committee, 25 GPs will be coming to work in the county from early 2017.

“We hope this will go some way to relieving pressure in practices where practice managers, GPs and staff are all working extremely hard.”

The CCG is offering support to patients to choose and register with an alternative GP Practice by January 7. If patients do not do so by the deadline they will allocate a surgery to patients, based on where they live and the practice boundaries. Any allocation can be changed in future and must not be perceived as permanent.

Dr Sunil Hindocha, chief clinical officer at NHS Lincolnshire West, said: “We are working with our partners to help and assist in every way we can in making sure Pottergate patients are re-registering as smoothly as possible.

“If patients come across any problems in re-registering can contact the CGC hotline on 01522 515380 and we will be more than happy to help.”

For more information on GP Practices visit www.lincolnshirewestccg.nhs.uk or call the CCG hotline on 01522 515380.