Hailsham doctors apologise for staff shortage disruption

Seaforth Farm Surgery in Hailsham
Seaforth Farm Surgery in Hailsham

A Hailsham doctors’ surgery has apologised to patients for disruption after staff shortages forced it to close its books last month.

The Hailsham Medical Group – which runs the Seaforth Farm and Vicarage Field surgeries – says it has had to close its books to new patients as it is ‘very short of doctors and nurses.’

It also faces ongoing disruption as a result of the staff shortage with several of the group’s current patients reporting they cannot book appointments or fill repeat prescriptions at either surgery.

In a letter to the Sussex Express signed by doctors at the surgery, a spokesman for the medical group said: “We would like to apologise to any patient who has experienced a problem accessing our services.

“We have taken urgent action, with the support of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group, to secure the services of two long-term GP locums who will join us at the end of September.

“We have recruited a new practice manager and expect him to join us at the beginning of September and have successfully recruited to our admin team, in particular the prescriptions department where there have been some delays.

“As our patients and your readers may be aware, there’s a national shortage of GPs, and the extensive housing developments in and around Hailsham have significantly increased local demand for primary care services. We will continue to try to recruit new GPs and nurses for our two surgeries and will re-open our lists for new patients at the earliest opportunity. The three other practices in Hailsham are accepting new patients.”

Further disruption is expected next month as the surgery updates its computer systems. It will be unable to take appointment bookings between Monday, September 5, and Friday, September 16. More details can be found at www.seaforthfarm.org.uk.

The spokesman added: “The new computer system will enable us to do more consultations and we will work to keep any disruption of services to a minimum during the switch. We are working closely with other local practices, pharmacies, and the CCG to ensure the best possible care can be provided to our community.”