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Concerns for hundreds of patients affected by surgery closure
HUNDREDS of patients at a closing-down GP’s surgery have yet to register with another doctor.
The Darzi Health Centre, in Doctor Piper House, in Darlington town centre, closes on March 31 after a review concluded it does not offer good value for money compared to other surgeries in the town.
Darlington Borough Council’s health and partnerships scrutiny committee has monitored the decommissioning of the practice.
The committee found that, despite an action plan being in place for the transfer of patients, most of the 900 patients on the Darzi Practice’s books had not re-registered elsewhere.
Members of the committee have repeatedly asked for up to date information on behalf of the Darzi patients.
The closure of the practice coincides with the change in NHS management, with GP-led clinical commissioning groups assuming responsibility for local health services from April 1.
The committee said part of the problem appears to be that no one person or agency has accepted the responsibility for the task in hand.
The process has also been complicated by some GP practices implementing a 'catchment area policy', consequently refusing new applicants before they get through the door.
Members of the committee were unanimous in opposing the closure of the Darzi GP Practice which was regarded as a valuable service, supporting the health needs of some of the most vulnerable people in Darlington.
Councillor Jan Taylor, a member of the scrutiny committee, said: “We had great reservations about the closure of the Darzi GP Practice.
“It not only provided an excellent seven-day 8am through to 8pm service to its registered patients, but also extended a quality health service to unregistered people living in Darlington.
“Our concerns about patients getting registered with a GP in time for April 1 have unfortunately proved correct.”
Speaking at a full meeting of the council, on Thursday (March 21) evening, she added: “There are 646 people that have not re-registered and I would urge them to do so.
“There are a lot of vulnerable people who will be at risk if they don’t have a GP.”
A spokesman for NHS County Durham and Darlington said: “GP practices in Darlington have indicated that they have sufficient capacity to cope with extra demand.
“The closure of the practice does not affect any other services at Dr Piper House and patients should be reassured that resources released as a result of the GP practice closing will be reinvested in health services in Darlington.”