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Practice closures ‘leave 200,000 without GPs’

09 May 2017

Record numbers of GP practice closures have forced around 265,000 to move, according to data published in April.

 

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The findings of a freedom of information request made by Pulse magazine revealed 57 practices closed in 2016, with a further 34 closing as a result of mergers. 

The data also showed the number of patients forced to change surgeries increased by 150% from 2014, and by 15% from 2015.

Areas that have been particularly affected include Brighton, which saw seven practices close in the past two years, according to Pulse.

Despite NHS England’s pledge for an extra £16m towards a ‘practice resilience programme’ this year, the profession feels its funding needs are not being met.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said closing a practice was always ‘a last resort’ and that available funding needed to be more accessible to practices.

NHS England argued that the figures obtained by Pulse were not accurate and included patients whose details had been transferred after practices had merged.

But shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said ‘urgent action’ was needed to address the spike in practice closures.

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