One longstanding patient, who is the fourth generation of his family to be registered at The Grove Medical Group in Gosforth, said he had been left ‘distressed and worried’
This is an edited version of an article first published by Chronicle Live.
Long-standing patients at a Tyneside doctor’s surgery have received bombshell letters kicking them out.
The Grove Medical Group, in Gosforth, Newcastle, has ‘reaffirmed’ its boundary and told some people they are no longer welcome due to where they live.
The GP practice said ‘very few patients’ had been affected, but one man who was told he had a month to find a new doctor said he had been left ‘distressed and worried’.
The patient, who lives less than three miles from the practice, said: “I have been at the same surgery my entire life and I’m the fourth generation of my family to be there so I think this is appalling and somewhat callous, frankly.
“The letter says I live ‘well outside’ the practice area but I’ve always lived in the same area, which is less than a mile out of the catchment area, but for 45 years it has never been a problem as my mam, grandma and great-grandma were also registered there.
“To get this letter, saying I have to leave a practice where I know and trust the staff and doctors, has caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety.
“To make it worse, when I rang up to ask to make some representations to request they look at it again, I was told I couldn’t and that the decision was final, without hearing what I wanted to say.
“I realise they have to control patient numbers but surely they can refuse new patients rather than kick out people who have been there since they were born.
“I told the practice manager I rarely attend so I’m hardly a drain on resources and her response was well it won’t matter if you have to go elsewhere. This heartless lack of empathy has made this situation all the more distressing, it’s been handled terribly in my opinion.”
Patients received letters from practice manager Claire Atkinson apologising for ‘writing to you out of the blue’ and telling them what she acknowledges is ‘not the news you would wish to hear’.
The letter goes on to say: ‘General practices work within specified boundary areas in order to be able to manage their registered patient workload in a comprehensive and cohesive manner.
‘This includes the ability for our clinical staff to be able to visit you at home, should the need arise, as well as integrating with the local community care arrangements for district nurses, health visitors and midwives.
‘These community resources are themselves currently managed by the local hospital trusts and I’m sure you will appreciate the complexities of managing patients across a multi-disciplinary workforce who themselves are working across different organisations.
‘It is for these reasons that, regretfully, we will no longer be able to provide you with your primary care needs and you will therefore need to register with another GP surgery.
‘I appreciate this is not the news you would wish to hear but I’m very sorry that you will have the hassle of re-registering with a practice closer to home.
‘We will request you deduction from our practice list with NHS England and this process usually takes up to 30 working days, which will allow you time to find another practice more local to your home.’
The male patient we spoke to said: “I don’t accept the reason they have given as I’ve never had a home visit, don’t need a district nurse or health visitor and I certainly don’t need a midwife.
“The irony is they say I have to register closer to home but there is another surgery near to The Grove Medical Group, which is slightly further away from my home, who are happy to have me register there.”
Practice manager Claire Atkinson said: “We are reaffirming our boundaries. With all the strain on general practice, we have to be able to manage patient numbers.
“If there is anyone who lives outside our outer boundary, we can ask them to change practices. There are some amazing practices in Newcastle and we haven’t had any problems really.”
Ms Atkinson said “very few” patients had been affected.