1,500 patients de-registered from Watton surgery – with two weeks notice

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:56 05 June 2014

Watton Medical Practice.

Watton Medical Practice.

Patients at a Norfolk doctors’ surgery who fall outside of a new prescribed catchment area will be de-registered from the practice, NHS England have said.

Watton Medical Practice is writing to 1,500 people who are registered with them – but whose postcode also falls into another practice’s catchment area.

The troubled surgery on Gregor Shanks Way has come under pressure in recent months after concerns were raised over its ability to meet the demand for appointments.

In the last year it has been trying to recruit two new GPs to meet the needs of the 13,000 registered patients.

But practice Mary Osborne said the failure to do so has meant the ratio of patients to doctors has increased above what is deemed to be clinically safe by the NHS.

She said this ‘list review’ – which includes not taking on any new patients other than immediate family members of existing patients – is now “the only option” to ensure quality and safety of care .

“It has been an immensely difficult decision to de-register some patients, especially when we have been trying so hard to recruit more GPs so we could maintain and grow our patient base,” she said. “Patients have been, and always will be, at the heart of the service we provide. We hope that patients will recognise this is the case even now, and will support us in working through this process.”

Letters will be posted in three batches in the coming weeks, giving people two weeks notice to sign-up with another surgery.

Those practices where patients will have to register with are in East Harling and Kenninghall, Hingham, Shipdham and three in Swaffham and, according to NHS England, have been fully consulted.

Andy Beal, 48, of The Close, Stow Bedon, near Watton, is one of 10 householders in his street who have been told to register at East Harling, about seven miles away. He has been registered with Watton Medical Practice all of his life and said: “The letter was shocking. I feel that they have given us no choice and we are being forced to go somewhere else,” he said.

“There has been no public consultation or prior warning. Most of the residents here are either disabled or over 80 and do not want to go to East Harling.”

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