Concern about Mayfield doctors’ decision to split

Mayfield surgery
Mayfield surgery

Speculation about what might happen at a GP surgery is ‘running wild’ according to villagers.

An announcement has been made that doctors Amanda Coates and Robin Warshafsky from the Woodhill Surgery, Mayfield, have decided to dissolve their partnership from June 30.

Reasons given are ‘irreconcilable differences.’

Parish councillor Chris Lilly said: “I don’t have any knowledge about the cause of the breakdown but you could say that a business partnership is just like a marriage.”

As to what might happen now, Victor Briggs wrote in the village newsletter: “I have heard many suggestions which, at the time, seemed ludicrously beyond reason.

“ Looking back I was beginning to think that anything was possible.”

He cites concerns as resulting from the ‘slight ambiguity’ of the letter from the NHS that was sent to all registered patients of Woodhill, including questions such as: ‘Were the doctors leaving?’ and ‘Is the surgery going to close?’

When asked for the cause of the breakdown, both Woodhill Patients Group chairman Andrew Watson and a representative of the practice management team refused to comment.

The decision means the existing NHS contract will also come to an end on June 30.

The Patients Group held a public meeting on April 12 which was attended by more than 160 people.

Andrew Watson told the audience: “It is simply not a case of the NHS seeking to close Woodhill. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

“The NHS wishes there to continue to be a surgery at Woodhill but now has to award a new contract to take effect from July 30.”

A formal tendering process must take place before contracts can be awarded.

Anyone qualified to provide GP services was able to tender or bid and both Drs Coates and Warshafsky confirmed they would be bidding.

However the NHS expected there to be a number of other bids from, for example, one or more other local surgeries.

The final decision to award the contract will be taken by the Board of the Clinical Commissioning Group.

The preferred bidder should emerge by mid May.

As well as two existing Mayfield doctors it’s believed bids could come from Rotherfield and Wadhurst surgeries.

Andrew Watson confirmed patients’ views were taken into account but could not be decisive because bids cover many technical areas and large sums of public money are involved.

He went on: “Naturally we are all saddened by recent developments and our best wishes go out to both our doctors at this difficult time.”

But Victor Briggs feels: “To the elderly who rely on regular and frequent medical care it could easily give them cause for concern.

“Patients usually have a rapport with their doctor and to even suggest there is going to be a change in the arrangements can upset the balance of things.”