The federation’s decision was due, for the most part, to the difficulties it has experienced in staffing this small surgery. This is against the backdrop of a national shortage of GPs and ongoing recruitment and retention challenges affecting the whole country.
The NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) thoroughly investigated the possibility of another provider taking over the running of the surgery, but this has not proved possible.
The three other GP surgeries in Felixstowe – Howard House, Haven Health and Grove Medical Centre – are keen to welcome Walton’s patients into their surgeries.
The proposed managed dispersal of patients to the other practices was approved by the Ipswich & East Suffolk Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC) on Monday (Feb 3).
All those patients currently registered at Walton will receive a letter in due course advising them which alternative Felixstowe surgery they have been allocated, based on their postcode.
This will ensure that all Felixstowe residents are automatically registered with another local practice and do not then need to take any further action unless they wish to do so.
Patients can however choose to register with another Felixstowe surgery at any point.
Around 200 Walton patients who currently live outside Felixstowe will be directed to other surgeries closer to them.
Ed Garratt, Chief Officer of the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, said: “I am delighted that the three other Felixstowe practices have offered to extend their services to the patients of Walton.
“Whilst I know that not everyone will be happy with these new arrangements, I wholeheartedly believe this is the safest and best option for patients given the situation we find ourselves in.
“I know that The Grove, Haven Health and Howard House will make Walton patients most welcome.”
This patient information leaflet provides more details and further information will be available at the drop-in events held at Walton Community Hall. Over the next few weeks you will have the opportunity to ask questions and find out more information about alternative practices.