Patients are being asked to have their say about the proposed closure of Whitley Wood Surgery due to problems recruiting enough permanent full-time GPs.
Whitley Wood is a satellite site of Westwood Road Health Centre in Tilehurst. The practice’s lead GP, Dr Tiwari, told Healthwatch Reading in a letter, ‘There is a shortage of GPs across the whole NHS and we have been having difficulties in filling existing vacancies. To replace the partners who have already left we needed two full time doctors who are able to work at both Westwood Road Health Centre and Whitley Wood Surgery and most new doctors are looking for part time clinical posts in general practice. As we have not been able to recruit new doctors it is increasingly difficult to maintain a service at Whitley Wood Surgery.’ A shortage of practice nurses was also restricting services at the branch surgery.
Patients who usually go to Whitley Wood Surgery have two options: stay with the practice and be seen at the Westwood Road Health Centre, two bus journeys away. Or they can apply to join a surgery closer to them, such as Milman Road Health Centre, Long Barn Lane Surgery, South Reading Surgery, University Health Centre, Chancellor House Surgery, or the Shinfield branch of Swallowfield Medical Practice.
Patients are being asked to complete a questionnaire by 27 October 2017 (also set out in the letter to Healthwatch Reading) to give their views about the closure, before the practice seeks formal permission to shut Whitley Wood Surgery. If approved, the closure would probably take place in December 2017.