Patients remain in limbo after surgery's closure
UNCERTAINTY still reigns over the future of 2,000 patients following the unexpected news that their GP practice in Old Town would close at the end of next month.
Dr Robert Rohlfing has informed patients that Marlborough Road Surgery would shut on March 31.
It remains unclear whether there is enough provision in Old Town or in practices in nearby neighbourhoods to take over such a large number of new patients.
Following the news of the imminent closure, NHS England confirmed that Dr Rohlfing had resigned from his General Medical Services contract, effectively ending his career.
The General Medical Services contract is a binding document between general practices and NHS England allowing them to deliver primary care to local communities.
A spokesman for the NHS England Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon And 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.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has endeavoured to get to the bottom of the issue and its repercussions for patients.
“The patients need to go somewhere and the question is how quickly the transition can be made,” he said. “I’m anxious to make sure patients are not left in the lurch and that their questions can be answered as soon as possible.
“We are going to have to make sure there is provision in the local area for them. Ideally an alternative would be to set up a new practice but it’s a long process and would not happen overnight.”
Patients received a letter from Dr Rohlfing outlining his decision and thanking them for their support over the years.
He remained vague as to the reasons behind the closure but said the surgery had become unviable.
According to the NHS website, The Hermitage Surgery in Old Town, Victoria Cross, Lawn Medical Centre, Whalebridge Practice and Old Town Surgery are all accepting new patients.