GP surgery gets approval to turn down new patients in the short term

Balmore Park Surgery will not be accepting new patients who have moved to the area, or those wanting to transfer from other practices.
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Balmore Park Surgery in Caversham has been given breathing space to try and recruit more staff and train up existing personnel to deal with growing workload.

The move means new patients will have to turn to Emmer Green or Sonning Common surgeries as the next available options north of the river.

Balmore Park Surgery was granted formal permission to stop taking on new patients in the short term, under a decision reached by a local NHS committee in early January 2020.

There had already been a temporary ban in place for patients wanting to transfer from other local doctors to Balmore Park, but the latest decision now means any people new to the area, will also lose the choice to join this surgery.

Balmore Park's patient participation group (PPG) supported the surgery's application, saying despite the surgery's best efforts, patients were having to wait up to three weeks for a routine appointment.

The number of patients has increased by 25% in the past two years to more than 21,000. The surgery took on 3,500 patients when nearby Priory Avenue Surgery closed in 2017. It was spared from having to take any patients from Peppard Rd Surgery when that also closed in Caversham last year, but there had continued to be a steady growth in patients. Its ban on new registrations was 'in the interests of patient safety', its website states.

Like other surgeries across Reading, Balmore Park is struggling to recruit new doctors. It is trying to recruit alternative professionals like pharmacists and advanced nurses, and is also training up one of its new nurses to take on the role of visiting patients who live in care homes.

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