Closure of two Portadown GP practices will have 'significant implications' on patients, warns UUP leader Doug Beattie

Almost 10,000 patients are to be affected by the closure of two GP practices in Portadown later this year.
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The GPs at Annagh Family Practice and Waterside Medical Practice, both located in Portadown Health Centre, have given notice of their intention to withdraw from their contract to deliver General Medical Services.

The Department of Health confirmed to Northern Ireland World on Wednesday evening that the GP contracts will end on August 31.

A spokesperson said the Department will now begin a process to secure alternative arrangements for these services, with the preferred option to secure a GP contractor – or grouping of GPs – to take over the practice through a formal recruitment process.

Doug Beattie M:A has said the closure of Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices will have "significant implications" for patients. Picture: unsplashDoug Beattie M:A has said the closure of Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices will have "significant implications" for patients. Picture: unsplash
Doug Beattie M:A has said the closure of Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices will have "significant implications" for patients. Picture: unsplash

There are currently 4,925 patients registered with Annagh Family Practice and 5,006 registered with Waterside Medical Practice.

“The practices will continue to deliver GP services and patients do not need to take any action,” said the Department of Health spokesperson. “They should continue to contact their practice as normal.

"We will be writing out to all practice patients to keep them informed as this process begins.

"The Department acknowledges the ongoing and significant pressures on GP practices. Notwithstanding budgetary pressures, the Department is committed to building the GP workforce.”

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said it had been “with a heavy heart” that the practices taken the decision to close, and it will have “significant implications” for patients in the Portadown and Craigavon area.

"These practices account for around a quarter of all patients on the register in the Portadown Health Centre. It underscores the challenges faced by healthcare providers in maintaining service continuity amidst evolving healthcare landscapes.

"The closure of Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices is undoubtedly a loss to the community, we remain hopeful for the future of healthcare provision in the area.

Patients who have relied on Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices for their healthcare needs may understandably have concerns about access to essential medical services.

However, I wish to assure patients that we are working closely with the local healthcare trust and other stakeholders to explore every avenue to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of care for all patients affected by the closures.

"I understand that transitions of this nature can be unsettling for patients, and want to reassure them, the practice is committed to providing support and assistance throughout this process. Patients will be kept informed of developments and provided with guidance on accessing alternative healthcare services as necessary.

“As they begin to navigate this challenging period, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the staff, who have supported Annagh and Waterside Medical Practices over the years. Your loyalty and dedication have been invaluable.”

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has demanded an urgent update on the situation from the Health and Social Care Board.

"Many patients have been in contact worried about their GP health care provision,” the DUP representative said.

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"There is something seriously wrong with the system. The Health Minister needs to get a grip on this situation fast. To that end I have written to him asking him to convene a round table with the outgoing staff who I can only praise for their commitment during this challenging time, the Department and other stakeholders.

"I would be hopeful a resolve can be found but we need to find that resolve quickly.”