July 24 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
NHS England has defended the decision to de-register 1,500 patients from a south-west Norfolk surgery.
People at Watton Medical Practice who fall outside a new prescribed catchment area have been given two weeks to find another GP after the surgery failed to recruit two more doctors.
The de-registration has seen vulnerable patients, including a 95-year-old great-grandmother and a double amputee, forced to move without any consultation.
NHS England, which made the decision with the surgery and the Local Medical Committee, has said the process of de-registration was done “in the fairest possible way”.
But Lily Dove, 95, from Ashill said she is “disgusted” at the way she has been treated after being told to transfer to a surgery in Swaffham.
“I do not know Swaffham and at the age of 95 I would prefer to stay with my own surgery,” she said.
“Surely newcomers to the area should be directed to other surgeries, instead of the likes of me being thrown out on the scrap heap.”
It is understood that exceptions cannot be made for specific cases – such as Mrs Dove’s or that of former soldier Dave Pendry, 47, from Stow Bedon, who lost both his legs to diabetes – because it would be discriminatory.
In a letter to the practice, Mrs Dove added: “After 95 years you callously give me less than two weeks to de-register from Watton. I do not know Swaffham and do not wish to register there.
“At 95 I suffer from appalling eyesight and hearing problems and at my time of life I do not want the worry of contacting new surgeries and worrying about who will deliver my tablets.”
A spokesman for NHS England said: “NHS England, East Anglia cannot comment on individual patient cases. Watton Medical Practice has adhered to the advice received from the Local Medical Committee, the British Medical Association and the Medical Defence Union and monitored by NHS England to de-register 1,500 patients in the fairest way possible.”
The surgery in Gregor Shanks Way has hit crisis point over the last year, seeing its ratio of 13,000 patients to doctors increase above what is deemed to be clinically safe by the NHS.
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has demanded a meeting with the health minister to discuss the problem.
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