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GP surgery faces closure over NHS funding as doctors quit Limehouse practice

PUBLISHED: 15:49 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 15:49 09 June 2015

'Save Our Surgeries' campaigners fighting to

'Save Our Surgeries' campaigners fighting to "keep NHS public"

Archant

A busy GP surgery in London’s deprived East End is facing being shut after a fifth of its NHS funding was cut.

Protesters campaigning to save East End surgeries previously demonstrating in LimehouseProtesters campaigning to save East End surgeries previously demonstrating in Limehouse

The Limehouse Practice in Gill Street could be closed down after two GPs quit—leaving the surgery unable to cope with falling incomes and rising workloads.

The remaining six GPs are now insecure and are also on the verge of leaving, after the NHS switched the way it funds practices in deprived areas.

The practice is “unlikely to find replacements” with the national shortage of GPs and could close within months, it warned.

“This will be a tragic waste if we’re forced to close,” one of the GP partners, Dr Naureen Bhatti, told the East London Advertiser.

Last year's 'Save Our Surgeries' protest in Downing StreetLast year's 'Save Our Surgeries' protest in Downing Street

“Doctors are now just another group of ‘key workers’ being forced out of the East End because we can’t afford to live here any longer.”

Closure of the Limehouse Practice would strain other surgeries, with 10,000 patients struggling to find a new GP, doctors warn.

Embattled GPs across East London have been running a ‘Save Our Surgeries’ campaign since the latest round of cuts began to hit practices.

Stepney’s Jubilee Street Practice managed to get an 11th hour reprieve—but with only two years of funding and half the budget already spent keeping it open. It also fears for its future.

Dr Naomi Beer, from Jubilee Street Practice, said: “We are on the brink of something catastrophic here in the East End. My practice has only a year of reprieve money left and meanwhile the practice next door is on the brink of closure.

“We’re shocked there’s still no commitment from anywhere to fund general practice in East London properly.

This is frightening for patients and heart-breaking for committed local doctors.”

The other surgeries are still up against the wall, with 22 across east London finding themselves on a ‘hit list’ when the way surgeries are funded was changed last year, giving less priority to inner city areas where life expectancy is shorter compared to more affluent areas where services were calculated to be needed more.


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