Concerns Raised About 'Critical Shortage' of GP Places in Chiswick

Surgery threatened with closure as medical centre demolition looks set to proceed

Grove Park Terrace Surgery. Picture: Google Streetview


Major Plans To Redevelop Chiswick Health Centre

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Concerns have been raised about a looming ‘crisis’ in the Chiswick area over the number of GP surgery places after a local practice came under threat of closure.

Local medical professionals are saying that any further loss of places at surgeries in W4 could create a chronic shortage particularly if the planned closure of the Chiswick Medical Centre proceeds. There have been discussions amongst GPs nationally about closing lists to highlight to the government the seriousness of the situation.

A proposal has been submitted to Hounslow Council for the redevelopment of the doctors’ surgery on Grove Park Terrace. An application has been made by CKC Design Ltd, an architectural design company based in Bromley, on behalf of the landlord. They want to obtain a change of use from a doctors’ surgery to allow two self-contained two bedroom flats to be built at 25 Grove Park Terrace by adapting the existing building. The reference for the application is 00528/25/P7. The Grove Park Terrace Surgery should not be confused with the Grove Park Surgery on Burlington Lane.

Dr Glennis Williams who is based at Grove Park Terrace Surgery said that the practice is not closing.

A spokesperson for the Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is responsible for managing GP practices in the borough, said, “The building where Grove Park Terrace Surgery is located is not owned by the NHS, the CCG will review and comment on the planning application when asked to do so.

“Regarding the proposed redevelopment Chiswick Health Centre, the CCG are working with GP practices to ensure the right GP services are available for patients and residents and any disruption caused by the proposed development is kept to a minimum. As this work progresses we will be talking to residents and patients in Chiswick.”

There are currently eight GP surgeries in the Chiswick area under the auspices of the Hounslow CCG. This would be reduced to six if the development of the Chiswick Medical Centre and the closure of Grove Park Terrace Surgery proceeds but the impact on patients would be proportionally greater as the Chiswick Medical Centre serves the most in the area.

Additional pressure on local GP provision will occur due to the amount of development in the area. Most of the population growth will take place to the west of the area particularly with all the planned building in Capital Interchange Way/Lionel Road area of Brentford where around 2,000 new flats have been given approval with more in the pipeline. The original plans for the Brentford stadium enabling development did include provision for a GP surgery but the building of five tower blocks on the Citroen garage site was not required to include a surgery as the local level of registered patient per GP of 1,400 was not high enough to require further provision to be made. There needs to be 1,700 patients per GP in an area before that becomes a stipulation.

Figures gathered by Pulse, a magazine for the GP practice sector, showed that over a million patients in England have had to move surgeries over the past five years due to closures with at least 450 shutting down. This process seems to be accelerating with the loss of nearly 200 surgeries in the year to June 2017 with 39 of those in London according to an NHS report. In 2013, according to Pulse, only 18 practices were shut.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said at the time of the publication of the article in Pulse, ‘These new figures will resonate with the experience of GPs across the country as the recruitment and retention crisis in general practice is impacting practices of all sizes and all situations, as doctors face the pressures of rising workload, increasing administrative burden and a lack of resources.

Official figures released earlier this year revealed that the GP workforce in England had reduced by 1,000 since September 2015. The then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced plans to increase the workforce by 5,000 by 2020.

An NHS England spokesperson said, ‘More than 3,000 GP practices have received extra support thanks to a £27 million investment over the past two years and there are plans to help hundreds more this year.

‘NHS England is beginning to reverse historic underinvestment with an extra £2.4bn going into general practice each year by 2021, a 14% rise in real-terms.’

August 26, 2018

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