Thousands of Bridlington people have been left in limbo by the uncertain future of one of the town’s GP surgeries and the possible closure of the hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit.
The prospect of Field House Surgery shutting its doors has been described as a ‘disaster’, even though health bosses are insisting no-one will be left without a doctor. Field House is operated by One Medical Group, but its contract runs out at the end of December and it has told NHS managers it will not carry on past the end of the year.
The British Medical Association believes 300 GP practices across the country are at risk of closing and has called for urgent action to save services in Bridlington.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, its GP representative for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “This practice closure will be a disaster for the area, with 6,500 patients left without their current GP service. It is a symptom of a wider crisis affecting Yorkshire and Humberside, as well as the rest of the country, as general practice buckles under the pressure of rising patient demand, contracting budgets and staff shortages.
“NHS managers need to do everything they can to rectify the mess that now faces Bridlington following this announcement. It needs to ensure patients are not left without access to a local GP.”
Bridlington resident Lesley Moran has been a patient at Field House since moving to the town 20 years ago.
She said: “I have always received a high quality of care from all the staff, nurses and doctors until recently.
“Now they can’t seem to keep any doctors there on a permanent basis so it’s always locum doctors you see, which means there is no continuity of care. The waiting times for your appointment are beyond a joke. I sat for more than 90 minutes one one occasion, due to doctors running late.
“Having said all that I really don’t want Field House to close, where would I go? I would struggle to get up to the hospital for appointments, as someone who suffers long- term health issues I’m at the doctors fairly often and I need one local to me.”
One Medical Group, which has offices in Leeds and London, and took over the contract two years ago.
In a statement, it said it had “worked tirelessly” to tackle “significant challenges” faced by the surgery.
It said: “The shortage of GPs and nurses in the wider area and nationally is not a new issue and we have raised our concerns about the staffing to our local commissioners on many occasions.
“For the past 24 months, we have invested heavily in the service utilising the wider group’s resources and implementing innovative techniques, such as remote GP access, with the aim of delivering a sustainable long-term solution for the Field House Surgery.”
However, it added that “the political and economic landscape for healthcare services in Bridlington and nationally has made it impossible for us to continue to deliver a sustainable service for patients”.
It claimed it was in advanced conversations with a local provider who is looking at taking over Field House. “In the interim, our practice team are working extremely hard to continue providing a safe service to our patients,” the statement added.
NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group vowed that nobody in Bridlington will be left without a GP despite the changes.
Chief officer Jane Hawkard said: “We have been working with NHS England to find a solution which best fits with the new integrated health and wellbeing model that ourselves, GP Practices in Bridlington, our community services provider and social care want to deliver.
“The new integrated service model will ensure a sustainable future for health and care services in Bridlington.”