Patients' fury at surgery closure plan

By James HorePATIENT power looks set to determine the future of an under-threat doctor's surgery.More than 1,800 patients registered with the Hoppit Surgery in Danbury have been told the practice could close if the current GP takes early retirement.

By James Hore

PATIENT power looks set to determine the future of an under-threat doctor's surgery.

More than 1,800 patients registered with the Hoppit Surgery in Danbury have been told the practice could close if the current GP takes early retirement.

Dr Ashley Pain, 47, is considering retirement on medical grounds and informed Maldon and South Chelmsford Primary Care Trust, but the surgery was then told it could be closed.


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Many of the 1,800 patients were angered by the announcement and a petition has already collected 750 names.

It had initially stated the practice - the oldest in Danbury, having been there for more than 70 years - would close, but has reconsidered its position and announced there will now be a period of consultation.

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The practice manager, Sally Barber, said the patients were “up in arms” about the closure threat.

“The patients want to be here - we all know the patients and they all know us. It is not as though we are a failing practice and have met all the targets which have been set,” she added.

“We have got a locum here at present and he has said he would be happy to stay on. They have not said why they are closing it. It was said it would be better financially, but that is only part of the equation.”

The trust's chief executive, Mike Harrison, said if Dr Pain did take early retirment, there would be an open consultation on the surgery's future.

He added: “In essence there are two scenarios. The first is that the practice continues and the primary care trust advertises for a new GP to run it.

“The alternative is that patients are offered the opportunity to transfer to other local practices in Danbury.

“It is clear that patients hold great affection for the practice and the practice team. However, we want to invite patients to consider the options and also let us know about the development of services in Danbury.”

Mr Harrison said the current locum GP at the practice, Dr Juan Munoz, had been asked to stay until patients had had the chance to express their views.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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