Published: 12 September, 2014
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
THOUSANDS of patients are to lose their doctor when a GP surgery in Paddington closes at the end of this month.
Staff at Milne House Medical Centre have been told by the NHS that they will be shutting their doors on September 30, but patients are yet to be told.
NHS chiefs decided to axe the surgery, which has around 3,000 patients, after a bodged consultation process, that was extended after many patients did not receive letters warning them the surgery was facing closure.
Patient Danna Cohen said the whole process had been characterised by a “lack of communication,” adding: “I had a plan B, but a lot patients don’t even know how to have a plan B. There’s a lot of elderly patients and people who don’t speak English as a first language. I’m thinking of other patients and there might be a lot of patients who can’t handle this at all.”
The surgery has been under threat for months after Central London Community Healthcare trust (CLCH) decided running the surgery no longer fit their “business plan”.
NHS England were left with the decision of continuing to fund the surgery or “dispersing” the patients between neighbouring doctors.
Labour Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, who has been campaigning alongside patients, said: “The most basic thing you can do is inform people.
“The least they could do is inform people they are closing it and these are the places you can now go. Not doing so appears to treat the patients very callously and in a haphazard way. Many of these patients will be elderly and have been living in the area for a very long time.”
The news comes after the closure of nearby W2 Health, which shut because the sole doctor retired, and has led to concerns about a shortage of GPs in the area.
Mr Qureshi said: “I think the coverage is going to be the problem, whether there are enough surgeries locally for people to walk into.”
A spokeswoman for NHS England admitted there had been a delay in sending the letters, but said they would be sent immediately and received this weekend, giving them just two weeks to find a new surgery.
Soho Square General Practice, that was also under threat, is to remain open following a strongly-fought campaign by patients.
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