Closure threatened Beechcroft Surgery in Costessey reveals recruitment woes

The owners of a closure-threatened doctors' surgery have revealed how unsuccessful attempts to recruit GPs have led them to consider shutting.

As reported in the Evening News, Beechcroft Surgery in New Costessey has started public consultation over its possible closure.

The surgery had said a partner had retired and another is intending to retire in the summer, leaving the practice short of GPs.

And, in a letter sent to Norwich South MP Simon Wright, after he raised concerns about the closure possibility, the partners, who also run Taverham Surgery, revealed their struggles to recruit.

In the letter, Dr Samita Mukhopadhyay explained: 'Our short-term recruitment preference has been for long-term locum GPs rather than ad hoc short-term locums. This would provide a better and more consistent service to our patients.

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'Regrettably, however, our advertising for locums has not been fruitful and no applicants have been forthcoming.

This is a situation that is not limited to the Beechcroft Surgery.

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'We do know other practices locally have also been trying to recruit GPs for up to six months without any success.

'We believe it would be irresponsible to think that we can muddle through in the hope that we can recruit suitable GPs before June. It is for that reason that we do have to consider closure as an option at this point.'

The surgery says its patient list of 4,000 has been fairly static in recent years and Costessey's growing population could be catered for at the nearby Roundwell Medical Centre.

They said, in response to Mr Wright's concerns about growth in Bowthorpe, people there would tend to register with the Trinity and Bowthorpe Practice.

The surgery added the closure proposal would not affect the pharmacy or dental practice, owned and run independently.

The letter also revealed alternatives to closure. Apart from recruiting new doctors, another option is to close Beechcroft and ask patients if they wanted to register at Taverham Surgery.

The third option is to find somebody to take on the surgery as a GP surgery which the partners said they were 'actively exploring'.

• Do you have a health story? Call health reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email

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