South West London ICB has decided to close a GP practice after its public engagement process identified patients’ concerns over the quality of services.
The ICB consulted with patients on its proposal to close the Rowans Surgery in August, stating Rowans Surgery has experienced ‘difficulties recruiting GPs and nurses over many years’, which it said has impacted on the quality of care.
It also reported longstanding problems with the building, including that it was ‘not fit for purpose’ for modern healthcare. A new health centre to be built on the site is expected to open in ‘two to three years’, however GP practice will not be based there.
It comes after NHS England tasked ICBs with identifying where to allocate potential winter support funding to GP practices and PCNs in their area, but only if such funding were to materialise.
According to the South West ICB, many patients who responded were frustrated over ‘difficulties getting appointments’, with some reporting they were unable to see a doctor face-to-face.
However, patients were also worried as to whether neighbouring practices could cope with the additional demand if the surgery were to close, and asked what support would be available to vulnerable patients in the transition.
The ICB said that nearby practices taking on new patients will receive additional funding, while the PCN’s care coordinators helping the practice identify vulnerable patients.
Members of the public also questioned why the current premises could not be refurbished.
The Board said the ‘building itself’ is no longer fit for purpose for modern healthcare’ due to its construction.
It noted the new health centre will be led by GPs, with other local GP practices able to use it as a branch site, despite the lack of a GP practice.
In its report, the ICB said: ‘After carefully considering the feedback received during the engagement events, NHS South West London has taken the decision to close the practice on 31 October 2022. We have explored every practical option to keep the surgery open but believe this is the only way to ensure people receive services that are safe and high quality.’
Patients will receive a letter asking them to register with a new practice, with those still registered by the closing date will be registered directly to a new practice.