Racecourse GP practice to close unless new arrangements in place by June
A busy Derry GP practice in one of the city’s biggest patient catchment areas is set to close unless new arrangements can be put in place between now and June.
Local political representatives have said new management must be found for the Racecourse Medical Group which is based at the Shantallow Health Centre.
SDLP Group Leader councillor Brian Tierney, speaking after it emerged the practice had handed back its contract for the delivery of services to the Department of Health, said: “People have built relationships with the staff who provide an excellent standard of care and people in this community would be devastated to see it close.
“While the surgery will continue to operate as normal for at least the next six months, we need to see urgent action from the Department of Health to find new management so that it can continue to provide services to people in this area.
"GP surgeries across our city are already stretched and the situation will only deteriorate further if they are forced to take on more patients as a result of closures.”
Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson said: “This is one of the biggest GP practices in the city and is responsible for the care for people in Shantallow and the surrounding areas. It must be protected.
“Our entire health service and health workers are under huge pressure. They need an Executive and a health minister in place taking decisions to tackle the problems.
“Sinn Féin is ready to form an Executive now, to work together with others, and invest an extra £1 billion in our health service to hire more doctors and nurses, tackle waiting lists and fund cancer and mental health services.”
The Department said it could confirm that Racecourse Practice, in Shantallow, has handed back its contract to deliver GP services.
“We want to reassure patients that Racecourse Practice will continue to retain the contract to deliver GP services for the next six months.
“We will now begin a recruitment process to put new arrangements in place to deliver GP services.
“Patients at the practice do not need to take any action. They should continue to contact the Practice as normal.
“We will be writing out to all practice patients to keep them informed as this process begins,” a spokesperson said.