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Cash injection keeps threatened St Katharine Dock surgery alive

PUBLISHED: 16:53 02 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:53 02 February 2015

Dr Sarit Patel in his refurbished St Katharine Docks surgery [pictures: Vickie Flores]

Dr Sarit Patel in his refurbished St Katharine Docks surgery [pictures: Vickie Flores]

Vickie Flores

Campaigners who won the fight to keep their neighbourhood GP surgery open in the wake of NHS cuts have now secured its future with Town Hall cash.

Cutting the ribbon... MP Jim Fitzpatrick with Dr Sarit Patel (left) and Friends of St Katherine Docks chair Sue HughesCutting the ribbon... MP Jim Fitzpatrick with Dr Sarit Patel (left) and Friends of St Katherine Docks chair Sue Hughes

MP Jim Fitzpatrick officially opened the refurbished St Katharine Docks medical practice in London’s East End on Friday.

The practice run by Dr Sarit Patel was listed as one of the 22 east London surgeries under threat of closure last April.

That’s when Friends of St Katharine Docks launched a campaign to get more patients registered to increase its income.

Dr Patel then applied for funding to refurbish the “out of date” premises at Thomas More Street in Wapping.

Tower Hamlets Commissioning Group agreed to the funding application and Dr Patel received a grant from Tower Hamlets Council for a second consulting room to enable another GP to join an expanded practice.

The campaign group’s chair Sue Hughes told the East London Advertiser: “The surgery is vital to the community around St Katharine Docks and surrounding area with nearly 1,800 patients currently relying on it. That will dramatically increase with another 1,800 homes being built in the London Docks with no plans for a medical facility for at least another five years—if at all.”

Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick arranged a meeting for Dr Patel at the Houses of Parliament with NHS managers and Tower Hamlets Commissioning Group, to secure funds which saved the practice from closure.

The Friends action group then approached Land Securities which agreed to provide an empty unit in their Thomas More Square development for Dr Patel to move into, without charging, while the surgery was being completely gutted and rebuilt. The work was completed in time to move back at Christmas.

The Friends group has now pledged to continue campaigning for sufficient NHS funds to cover the surgery’s ongoing running costs.


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