Patients scramble to register with GP

Pictured, left to right, are Anne Snelgrove (candidate for Swindon South) and Nadine Watts (Old Town ward councillor) outside the Marlborough Road Surgery which is due to close in March

Pictured, left to right, are Anne Snelgrove (candidate for Swindon South) and Nadine Watts (Old Town ward councillor) outside the Marlborough Road Surgery which is due to close in March

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

PATIENTS due to be turfed out of Marlborough Road Surgery at the end of March are facing a struggle to get themselves re-registered with nearby GPs.

Dr Robert Rohlfing wrote to the 2,000 patients he has registered at his practice in Old Town over the first weekend of the month and informed them it would permanently close on March 31.

He apologised to patients and told them he had tried every which way to keep the surgery open, but it was no longer viable and he would no longer practise in the area.

The unexpected news has left patients scrambling for any remaining places at nearby practices, although catchment areas and waiting lists could leave many without a GP once Dr Rohlfing closes his doors.

The Hermitage Surgery, the second closest surgery to the Marlborough Road practice, has closed its doors to new patients having been inundated with applications to register. New enquirers are being advised to wait six months before trying to register.

Lawn Medical Centre is taking on any Marlborough Road patients who live in the SN3 postcode, although any outside this catchment area will not be permitted.

Priory Road Medical Centre is still accepting new patients from Park South, Park North, Liden, Eldene and Walcot.

Kingswood Surgery is also accepting new patients who live within a four mile radius.

Meanwhile Anne Snelgrove, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, has criticised the planning process which preceded the letter sent out to patients by Dr Rohlfing.

She is concerned the 2,000 people left without a doctor are being left to fend for themselves when the NHS should have put procedures in place to have the patients re-registered elsewhere promptly.

She said: “My concern is clearly this has been known about for some time. If you sent a letter out 10 days ago that will have had a process before it with the local NHS people.

“It is NHS England’s job to make sure everyone in the country has a GP, but nobody appears to be taking any responsibility for it.

“It appears it’s every man and woman for his and herself. NHS England has washed their hands with it. There should be a plan in place and no need for chasing. To have a letter sent out nearly two weeks ago and people still not know what’s going on is hopeless.”

A spokesman for the NHS England Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon & Wiltshire Area team said: “Dr Robert Rohlfing of Marlborough Road Surgery in Swindon has tendered his resignation from his General Medical Services contract.

“He wrote to all his patients advising them of his decision and that after March 31 they will have to register with a new medical practice in the area.

“He has reassured his patients that he will continue to see them up until that time and has also directed people to local practices that they can register with and to further information on the NHS Choices website.”

Comments (2)

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12:31pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Itssomewheretowork says...

Why is adver running this story again, perhaps it was to correct the numbers from 3000 to 2000 and not to give more publicity to Anne S. Well our letter arrived thursday last week so either Annes, nearly two weeks ago the letters were sent is some way off the mark or the Swindon postal services is getting much worse, 2000 letters is not exactly in the proportion of the Christmas mail. We had no trouble registering at another practice which is in fact the closest one to our home.

As Anne is taking such an interest perhaps she can tell us at the end of March how many of the 3000 don't have a new GP. Obviously she has decided to target the NHS which at least gives Swindon council a rest.
Why is adver running this story again, perhaps it was to correct the numbers from 3000 to 2000 and not to give more publicity to Anne S. Well our letter arrived thursday last week so either Annes, nearly two weeks ago the letters were sent is some way off the mark or the Swindon postal services is getting much worse, 2000 letters is not exactly in the proportion of the Christmas mail. We had no trouble registering at another practice which is in fact the closest one to our home. As Anne is taking such an interest perhaps she can tell us at the end of March how many of the 3000 don't have a new GP. Obviously she has decided to target the NHS which at least gives Swindon council a rest. Itssomewheretowork
  • Score: -4

4:18pm Wed 12 Feb 14

pongopatterson says...

I thought the ruling was that if GP's had closed their lists to new registrations then the CCG, (nee PCT, nee FHSA)!! would allocate a patient to a GP practice. Everyone eligible has the right in the UK to be registered with a GP.
I thought the ruling was that if GP's had closed their lists to new registrations then the CCG, (nee PCT, nee FHSA)!! would allocate a patient to a GP practice. Everyone eligible has the right in the UK to be registered with a GP. pongopatterson
  • Score: 3

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