A ‘lifeline’ GP surgery in Rottingdean looks set to close, just five months after residents protested to keep it open.
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove said 1,200 people would be affected by the closure of the Meadow Parade Branch Surgery in Rottingdean, Brighton.
It said since the proposed closure was first announced in June there has been growing concern and opposition from local people.
But residents protested about the possible closure of the surgery in March this year, handing in a 1,100-strong petition to Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.
Brenda Matthews told the Brighton & Hove Independent: “I live in Rottingdean and I am in my eighties. I have a number of health problems and no car. I have to walk to a bus stop, wait for a bus to come back again, I have got problems walking.
“One of the reasons we chose to live where we live is because of the facilities that we need are within walking distance. One of the reasons we moved to Rottingdean is that we had a surgery and a bank. Now the bank’s gone, and next the surgery. What’s the point?”
Gill Street from Ovingdean said it takes her 10 minutes to walk to the surgery in Rottingdean, but it would be much more difficult to get to and from Saltdean.
She said: “My bus comes once an hour, then I have to get off at the seafront to wait for the number 27 bus. Otherwise it’s walking across the Downs! Then it is the return journey. To return I have to go to the Marina. “To get there for an appointment it would have to be a taxi.”
Meadow Parade is a branch of the Saltdean and Rottingdean Practice, and Healthwatch said: “The main practice surgery is well equipped and staffed offering a wide range of services. The branch surgery by contrast is poorly equipped. Doctors need to work alone, locum doctors refuse to work there. Ambulance crew cannot fit their equipment through the doors and disabled access is poor. However local people are deeply upset to be losing their local service and needing to travel further to see a GP.”
David Liley, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief officer said: “This was an entirely predictable problem. Doctors and the NHS have known for years that the branch surgery premises are not fit for purpose. The local CCG inherited this problem from NHS England two years ago in the context of a flurry of GP practice closures in the City. For years NHS England had done little or nothing to prepare for the inevitable shrinking of GP Practices not just in Rottingdean but across the City of Brighton and Hove.”
The NHS told Healthwatch: “Saltdean and Rottingdean Medical Practice has faced a large increase in patient numbers following the closure of the nearby Ridgeway Practice and two practices in Peacehaven. This has made it impossible to release clinical staff from the Saltdean site to work at Rottingdean.”
The NHS in Brighton and Hove is being asked by the surgery to support the closure of the branch practice on Tuesday (August 14) at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The committee will be open to receive comments from members of the public from 2pm to 2.45pm, at the Council Chamber, Hove Town Hall.