UPDATED WEDNESDAY 15:45*
FEARS an Isle of Wight doctors' surgery could close permanently have been allayed following negotiations, according to MP Andrew Turner.
Patients had raised concerns about the future of healthcare in the West Wight, following an announcement that Yarmouth Surgery was to close for six months.
As reported by the County Press, Dr Gordon Walker — a partner at West Wight Practice, which runs the surgery — told Yarmouth Town Council it had struggled to fill four vacant GP posts, leaving the partners with no choice by to tell NHS England they could no longer fulfil their contract.
The contract was due to be put out for procurement to find new partners to takeover.
Mr Turner said in a statement today (Tuesday) that negotiations had taken place with other Island GPs, leading to an agreement for sufficient support for the team and the withdrawal of the notice to NHS England.
The surgery is still due to close temporarily, Friday, next week, and Mr Turner said a date had not yet been set for the Yarmouth surgery to re-open, but information would be made available as soon as practicable.
"This is a great example of the Island’s NHS pulling together for the good of the patients. There was great disquiet in Yarmouth about the prospect of the surgery closing for six months – and even fears that it would be lost altogether. Tim Gibbs of the Yarmouth Pharmacy organised a petition which gathered around 3,000 signatures demonstrating the strength of local feeling.
"It was very clear to me that the doctors are absolutely committed to the community they serve and to finding a solution if it was at all possible – I am very glad they feel that has been achieved in principle. Long-term closure of Yarmouth’s GP practice may also have threatened the viability of the pharmacy, where the pharmacist Tim Gibbs is held in very high regard, and the doctors have particularly asked that people continue to use his services. We must now wait for the negotiations to proceed so that the details of the future service can be finalised," said Mr Turner.
Mr Gibbs said : "I am very grateful for the support of all our patients and everybody involved in working together and supporting each other to find the right solution for the West Wight. This is an example of the local NHS community listening to the patients and putting the care of patients first which is what the NHS is all about."
Dr George Thomson told the County Press they were very keen the surgery would re-open as soon as possible.
In the interim, the practice's remaining doctors will be based at its other surgery Brookside Health Centre, Freshwater.