Closure threat for West Ham GP surgery run by doctor who Mother Theresa taught
PUBLISHED: 08:14 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:34 23 October 2018
Patients have urged health bosses to save a surgery in West Ham threatened with closure following their doctor's retirement.
Dr Prasanta Bhowmik OBE of West Ham Medical Practice is due to retire in November aged 80, but because he is the only GP holding the contract, the surgery and 10 jobs hang in the balance.
Patient numbers have dropped to around 2,400 after some moved out of the borough. Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees the borough’s healthcare, told them at a consultation that this made the practice’s future “unviable”. The average surgery in Newham caters to 7,500 people.
Worried grandmother Angela Roses, who lives near the Corporation Street surgery, said: “They suggested going to a bigger clinic. But you don’t see the same doctor. This is out of order.”
Mrs Roses, 70, delivered a handwritten letter addressed to prime minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street urging her to step in.
Agnes Rodger, of Stratford, feared frail patients would not be able to make the journey to other surgeries.
Dr Bhowmik was taught by Mother Theresa as part of his training in Kolkata. He learnt that doing a good job could be done anywhere from the Nobel peace prize-winning nun.
“I have loved serving these people. They are hardworking, honest and loyal. My only satisfaction is that I have done something for them,” Dr Bhowmik said.
He added the only hope would be if another surgery chose to merge with it after a previous deal fell through.
A CCG spokesman said: “A number of patients have raised concerns. Our priority is to ensure that everyone registered at the practice has continued access to high quality GP services.”
The Royal College of General Practitioners said in September that without urgent investment, 762 practices across the UK could close over the next five years because they are relying on a workforce where three-quarters of GPs are approaching retirement age.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “GPs are a crucial part of the NHS. We are committed to recruiting 5,000 more. A record 3,473 were recruited into GP training this year against a target of 3,250.”