Another doctors’ surgery in Brighton is preparing to shut its doors and merge with a nearby practice as its lease comes to an end.
The North Laine Medical Centre, in Gloucester Street, Brighton, is expected to close by the end of November.
The team there are expected to switch to the St Peter’s Medical Centre, in Oxford Street, Brighton, where there are plans to enlarge the premises.
Almost a dozen surgeries have closed across Brighton and Hove since the start of 2015 with a generation of doctors reaching retirement age, quitting through ill health or struggling to recruit.
A private provider known as the Practice Group also walked away after a combination of difficulties rendered its local business unviable.
North Laine practice manager Mike Stemp said: “We are sad to say that the lease on our present premises will expire at the end of November so we will have to move out by then.
“We have been here for 20 years so it will be a big change for all of us.
“However, the really good news is that we will be moving in with a nearby practice, St Peter’s Medical Centre, in Oxford Street, and our intention is to merge with them to form a new practice.
“All the doctors and nurses from North Laine Medical Centre will be going so there will be continuity of your care.
“The big advantage to the practice will be a larger clinical team with a broader range of skills to meet your needs.
“The other really exciting news is that we will be part of a new surgery development, involving a major commitment by the NHS to fund a state-of-the-art building in which to provide future services.
“This will give us incredible opportunities to develop new ways of working to the benefit of all the patients in the combined practice.
“In the meantime, both practices are working very hard to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible and that there will be minimal disruption to your care.
“The staff at St Peter’s have worked out how to use their present space to enable us to work much as we are now with a similar timetable of doctors’ surgeries.
“We appreciate that this may come as a bit of a shock to many of you and we understand that there may be questions that you would like to ask.
“We are holding two joint engagement sessions where patients and their carers can find out more information, ask questions or share their ideas or concerns about our plans.”
The events will be held at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, on Tuesday 18 September from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and on Friday 28 September from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
David Supple, who chairs the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have been notified by the partners at St Peter’s Medical Centre and North Lane Medical Centre of their plans to come together to form a single larger practice, operating out of brand new purpose-built premises, offering the surgery greater stability and sustainability for the future.
“Both practices are currently sited in premises that are considered unfit for purpose and the new single larger practice will be co-located with a local NHS trust which will offer opportunities for more integrated health services to be provided.”
Dr Supple added: “There is no need for patients registered at either surgery to do anything to get a new GP – they will be automatically taken care of as part of the joining together process.
“The development will be undertaken over several phases to ensure patients can still access GP services easily and any disruption to patients experience will be kept to a minimum.
“The CCG and the GPs remain very grateful to all patients for their patience and co-operation during the building of the new premises.
“Like the rest of the country, general practice services across the city are facing increasing pressure and demand and this is why we are investing significantly to improve local people’s access to GP services and to increasing the range of services they can offer to help support patients to manage their conditions effectively.
“We have also put extensive measures in place to support GPs in the city, including financial and educational support to help them run their surgeries more effectively and efficiently to free up doctors to provide more care for patients.”