WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Estate needs its GP practice – let’s defend it

14 February, 2020

• THERE is a critical shortage of general practitioners across the country, and yet the Church Commissioners are pursuing a proposal which might well result in the closure of a much-needed, well-regarded practice on the Hyde Park Estate.

Indeed, with the closure of two other local surgeries in recent years, the Connaught Square Practice remains the only accessible National Health Service surgery available to residents in the area.

As the name suggests, it is located in prime real estate territory, Connaught Square, W2. There has been a doctor there since the beginning of the 20th century.

The current practice offers an excellent, rounded, service to its patients, and is deemed an Urgent Care Centre at the weekends, whereby it is open seven days a week.

This is a huge bonus when appointments are so scarce on the ground, and waiting times to see doctors are so extended.

Given the value of the premises, the Church Commissioners now want to remove the practice from the site, with the goal of returning the house to full residential use, thus putting Mammon above the welfare and wellbeing of residents.

They wish to relocate the surgery elsewhere, which appears to be financially non-viable, and would thus lead to the total closure of the practice. Where are patients meant to go?

Where will the elderly and infirm, with mobility and other access issues, have to travel to in order to access primary care?

And why is it that patients have only just learned of the planning application, leaving only five to six days to comment on the appropriate Westminster City Council site?

The Church Commissioners appear to have been less than transparent with the practice about tabling the application, with doctors and patients dangerously on the back foot as a result.

At time of writing, our three local Conservative councillors have failed to respond to communications from constituents about the situation, whereas Labour councillors outside Hyde Park ward have immediately acted to protect the surgery from closure.

The latter would prove disastrous, and I would ask Westminster Extra to support patients in any way it can, and soonest.

JENNIFER SHERIDAN,
W2

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