Patient worry as Peacehaven GP surgery closes

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SUS-150912-130503001

Hundreds of patients are being forced to register with new doctors surgeries – after a GP announced his resignation.

More than 2,500 residents in Peacehaven have received letters announcing the closure of the Foxhill Medical Centre.

Dr Virendra Kumar Gupta, a familiar face in the Peacehaven community, has announced his plans to retire from General Practice on December 31.

However, from today (December 11) is only seeing patients for urgent and emergency appointments.

Patients are now being asked by health commissioners to re-register with other practices.

But residents are arguing nearby Peacehaven surgeries including Rowe Avenue and Meridian Surgery are ‘full to bursting’.

Andy Bonwick, who lives in Foxhill, said: “I’ve reluctantly registered at another surgery after being with Dr Gupta for the last 19 years.

“I tried about four months ago to get a second opinion from a second doctor in Peacehaven and was told I couldn’t as they were full, now Anchor

Healthcare [which runs Meridian Healthcare] has suddenly found space for 2550 patients.”

Mr Bonwick said he believed Dr Gupta owns the Foxhill building and rents it to the NHS, which has decided not to renew the lease.

“The building is now being marketed on Right Move at present.”

A spokesman for High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)said: “We appreciate there is a strong community feeling of support for Foxhill Medical Centre, and that this is a difficult time for patients, but our first priority must be to ensure all patients have continued access to primary care.”

“High Weald Lewes Havens CCG has looked at the available options to identify the best possible solution to guarantee local patients continue to have access to a full range of GP services.

He added: “It has been decided that patients will need to re-register with another local practice, and the CCG is working with practices to ensure patient safety and to support the practices.”

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton and Peacehaven, said he will be keeping a ‘close eye’ on the situation.

“Having written to the CCG to make representations on behalf of local residents and to request that they do everything possible to keep Foxhill Surgery open, I am disappointed that the decision has now been made to close the surgery,” he said. “My advice would be to follow the CCG’s advice and register with other doctors in the area.”

Christine Bowman, of Rowe Avenue Patient Participation Group, said: “The closure of Foxhill is a big blow to Peacehaven residents – having had one closure and now another, patients are rightly angry and worried.

“I know of several Foxhill patients that will now have to choose a new surgery – for those that have been with Foxhill for many years, this is having a huge impact on them – especially young families of whom there is a large population in that part of Peacehaven.”

Ms Bowman said residents were only just getting to grips with losing a surgery in Telscombe Cliffs.

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