Uncertainty for patients at surgery with no GPs

Patients of a Portadown doctor's surgery, which has been without GPs since last Wednesday, are facing uncertainty as talks take place to find another practice to provide cover.

The 5,000-plus patients of Bannview Medical Practice, which is based in Portadown Health Centre, are being seen by locum GPs this week.

There is also a triage system in operation, so that routine appointments can be offered. For two days last week, only emergency appointments were available.

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It has also emerged that the practice has been trying, unsuccessfully, to recruit two GPs since June, but has been unable to fill the vacancies.

One patient, who does not wish to named, suffers from diabetes and has other medical needs associated with the condition. He said, “It worries me. I know the doctors are under pressure but it needs to be sorted out quickly.

“I have been there for 40 years, and it has always been a good practice, but what’s happening is very unsettling.”

The Health and Social Care Board said it is “in discussion with another medical practice in Portadown area to provide a caretaker service as further support at this time”.

A spokesperson for the board said there had been a total of four GPs at the Bannview practice, two partners and two salaried.