A Newport doctors’ surgery is finding it difficult to recruit GPs and is now under pressure.
The practice manager of Dower House Surgery, in Pyle Street, has spoken to the IW Observer about the challenges he faces in ensuring the surgery’s 12,500 patients have an NHS point of service they can rely on.
Recent long queues and issues booking appointments has led patients fearing the practice could close if it were lose to a doctor. But practice manager Peter Harrison said they were “struggling along” and that there was “no imminent sign of us closing”.
He admitted: “We’ve been facing challenges for years. Most practices on the Island are a couple of instances away from big problems, but I can’t see us ever closing to be honest.
“The problem we’ve got is recruiting doctors on the Island, getting doctors to come here is really difficult. It’s the same all over the country, but it’s a bit more of a problem here because of that bit of water. It does cause problems.
“Even if we faced big problems, we would have to find a way of working, we have 12,500 patients on our books and there’s nowhere else they can go.”
The practice has begun working closely with Carisbrooke Medical Centre as an “acute hub”, which means they are sharing patients.
Mr Harrison’s final thought on the situation was: “Find us a load of doctors.”
Breaking point was reached in July at Sandown Medical Centre when it closed its lists to new patients, except where they are immediate family members of existing patients. The crisis was due to a shortage of doctors.
Dr Michele Legg, chair of the NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Recruiting and retaining GPs is an issue across the whole of the country, and the Isle of Wight is no different in that regard. In response to our learning from recent issues that affected the Sandown practice the CCG will be supporting practices to retain and recruit GPs on the Island.
“As well as offering additional support, we are also working across the Island to make it easier for all patients to get an appointment, when they need it. I think that everyone already knows just how much pressure GP surgeries are under, and so we are working on plans to make more appointments available, especially same-day slots which are often in such demand.”