The decision to stop adding more patients to a Haverhill GP practice’s list is not a cause for panic and was only taken to ensure patient safety.
Just before Christmas the Haverhill Family Practice (HFP), which has a surgery in Camps Road (formerly Dr Selby and Partners) and the Stourview Medical Centre, said its patient list was being suspended for six months.
A notice on the practice’s website says: “We are currently working under great pressure with limited resources and this cannot be sustained,” adding that the measure was taken to ‘protect patient and doctor safety’.
Now, Lois Wreathall, the Head of Primary Care for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has provided more clarity on the reasons for the closure.
“It’s very much seen as a last resort.
“Obviously the people of Haverhill are aware that there are two practices in Haverhill (the second one is the Clements and Christmas Maltings) and currently both work out of Camps Road.
“The people of Haverhill are also aware that the Clements previously had applied to the CCG to close the Camps Road branch.”
As of last October, Ms Wreathall confirmed, the Clements and Christmas Maltings, which also includes a satellite surgery in Kedington, has 17,531 registered patients, while the HFP has 15,072.
A number of patients had however, after seeing that the Christmas Maltings branch in Camps Road was struggling to open, been trying to transfer to the HFP.
Ms Wreathall added: “We had a little bit of a flurry of people coming in and that’s when HFP said if this trickle turns into flood we can’t cope, so we need to say stop now, and that’s fine, that’s how it should be.
“We haven’t had a list closure in West Suffolk for, I can’t remember how long, so it doesn’t happen very often, but it’s always there to ensure patient safety.
“People who already have a doctor, We can’t have them trying to flood HFP because when you register to a new GP the GP has to do a number of checks and it’s really designed for people who come into the area and have no GP at all.
“Don’t panic everybody. Everybody in Haverhill has a GP. Both the GP surgeries are open.”