GP closure labelled ‘disastrous’ by MP

By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter

Concerns have been raised vulnerable patients will be left “scrambling” to find a new GP surgery at short notice after it was revealed their practice will close next month.

Trinity Medical Centre, on Balham High Road, will close on July 31 despite calls for it to remain open.

Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan described the decision to close Trinity as “disastrous” and “short-sighted”.

MP for Tooting Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Picture: UK Parliament)

She claimed “no coherent plan” has been put in place to deal with the impacts of the closure, and said some patients will be forced to travel further to different surgeries and lose strong relationships they have built with their current GPs.

It comes after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) cancelled the registration of the previous service provider at Trinity, after rating it “inadequate” twice.

Local surgery Tudor Lodge Health Centre has been managing the practice on a temporary basis since September 16, 2022, while decisions were made about its future.

NHS South West London has now announced the temporary contract with Tudor Lodge will come to an end on July 31, when the surgery will close permanently.

It claimed finding a new service provider to run Trinity was not “viable” and could disrupt patients further, affecting care in the long term, in a statement on its website announcing the decision.

The board said there is sufficient capacity at other local practices to take on patients from Trinity, which benefit from good transport links. It added it will identify vulnerable and housebound patients and support them with registering elsewhere, along with other issues.

But Labour MP Ms Allin-Khan slammed the decision and raised concerns “vulnerable patients will be left scrambling to find a new surgery at short notice”.

She said: “At a time when local residents are already waiting weeks to see a GP, this decision is shockingly short-sighted for patients at the surgery.

“People will find themselves trying to squeeze onto the books of existing practices, travelling further to see a GP, and losing the strong and trusted relationships with their GPs they’ve built over time.

“The blame for this decision lies squarely with this Conservative Government which has imposed 13 years of underfunding and neglect on our local NHS services.”

Ms Allin-Khan has called on Health Secretary Steve Barclay to meet people affected by the closure and “reverse this disastrous decision”.

An NHS South West London spokesperson said: “We are contacting all patients at the practice asking them to register with a new local GP surgery of their choice – there are 10 practices within a one-mile radius and an additional 21 practices within two miles.

“These nearby practices have space to take on new patients and we are putting financial support in place to help them support new patients.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: “NHS England is responsible for commissioning primary care services for the population of England and with them we have published a primary care recovery plan to cut NHS waiting lists, including £240 million for GP technology to make it easier for patients to get an appointment.

“Already approximately 50,000 more appointments were delivered per working day in April 2023 compared to April 2022 and we are investing at least £1.5 billion to create 50 million more appointments a year by 2024.”

Pictured top: Trinity Medical Centre on Balham High Road (Picture: Charlotte Lillywhite)

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