Southend surgery set to close

Thousands of patients in Southend could be forced to switch to a new GP surgery under proposals to close a practice and merge it with two others more than a mile away.

A consultation has been launched over the proposed closure of the Shaftesbury Avenue surgery, in Southchurch, and patients were told it could shut on August 30.

The surgery is part of the Thorpe Bay surgery, in Tyrone Road, alongside the North Shoebury surgery, in Frobisher Way, and patients will have the option to go to either of those surgeries.

The Shaftesbury Avenue surgery has 2,761 patients, compared to 7,166 at the Thorpe Bay surgery and 6,231 at North Shoebury surgery.

The Thorpe Bay surgery is 1.1 miles away from Shaftesbury Avenue in Southend, while the North Shoebury surgery is 2.6miles away.

A Thorpe Bay Surgery patient and his wife fears the merger will put too much pressure on their surgery.

The patient, who asked not to be named, said: “We have been with the surgery for more than a decade. We used to live in Shaftesbury Avenue, so we registered there.

“We then moved further into Thorpe Bay and moved to the Tyrone Road surgery. Initially we were happy with the service but over the past two to three years it’s become harder and harder to see a doctor.”

The patient added: “If all the Shaftesbury patients transfer across to Tyrone or North Shoebury, we will have to wait even longer for appointments.”

It follows the proposed merger of the Eastwood Group Practice, which will see patients moved to the Kent Elm branch in Rayleigh Road.

A letter to patients said the proposed Shaftesbury Avenue closure was “due to the partners and landlords being unable to reach a satisfactory agreement regarding changes to the new lease for the premises”.

William Guy, director of primary care at NHS Mid and South Essex said: “Any closure of a branch surgery would be subject to the approval of an application made by the GP practice to the local NHS.

“Approval would be subject to full consideration of the impact such a closure would have on the practice’s registered patient population, and the application must evidence feedback received from patients and other key stakeholders. Shaftesbury Avenue Surgery is currently in the process of patient engagement.”

A consultation meeting will take place at Norton Place in Shoebury on Thursday, June 4, from 2pm to 4pm.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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