IntraHealth Chiltern Hills Medical Practice will be visited by patients for the very last time, as today the popular Dunstable practice closes its doors for good.
Voted as the best GP surgery in the town during March 2016, today (May 31) marks the end of an era for the High Street North practice, after NHS England undertook a report into primary care provision and decided it was to close, stating the surgery was “not sustainable” in the long term with one locum GP.
171 upset patients signed an online petition on campaign website ‘care2’ in an attempt to persuade Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to contract a new GP provider, praising its quick appointment access.
Sandra Mclaughlan, practice manager at Chiltern Hills Surgery, said: “The staff and patients were extremely disappointed in the decision to close Chiltern Hills Surgery.
“The consultation of current patients by NHS England before the decision was taken showed that 95 per cent wanted the surgery to remain open.
“The staff are proud of the fact that this surgery has for the last ten years been one of the highest achieving surgeries in all aspects of clinical care, as monitored and reported on by the NHS, Bedfordshire CCG and CQC.
“Meanwhile, the patients have always appreciated the friendly and personal care given by staff at Chiltern Hills, which is supported by regular high results in Patient Satisfaction Surveys and in their comments posted on NHS Choices.
“Intrahealth have been very supportive of this surgery and the staff here for the past 12 years, for which we would thank them.
“The staff will very much miss the bond built up with each other and our patients; we would like to thank patients for their amazing support and wish them well.
“They have been bringing us in all sorts of cakes, biscuits, chocolates and wine for the last few months, so we are all a few pounds heavier than we were in January!
“The girls here will chill out this afternoon (May 31) and share a pizza and a few drinks to mark the occasion, but we will all keep in touch.”
A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England have a duty to ensure the patients of Chiltern Hills Surgery have access to high-quality and safe GP services now and in the future.
“The decision to close the practice was taken after careful consideration of all the circumstances and patients were notified of the closure in January, and provided with a list of nearby surgeries accepting new patients.
“The staff at Chiltern Hills have worked closely with us to re-register patients, and we would like to thank them for their support.
“We have written again to those who have yet to re-register to advise them that they have been transferred to another surgery.”