Villagers in York 'abandoned' as GP practice forced to shut due to staff shortage

Stockton on the Forest GP surgery protest
Villagers held a posters outside the surgery in Stockton on the Forest Credit: ITV News

Villagers have held a protest outside a GP surgery in York which was forced to close because of a staff shortage.

More than 20 people gathered outside Stockton on the Forest surgery, which shut after failing to find enough support workers, especially to staff reception.

Haxy Group, which runs the practice, said the surgery aims to return to full opening hours as soon as new workers have been employed and trained.

But patients fear the closure could become permanent.

Patricia Jennings, 88, one of the patients at the protest, said that residents have "total sympathy" with the problems facing the surgery but feel that the village has been "abandoned".

She said: "It serves the entire village. We haven't got a pharmacy in the village and a lot of people here are the elderly or disabled, they haven't got private transport they have to go out of the village to get service."

Ms Jennings said locals felt it would "help enormously" if the surgery was open at least "a couple of mornings a week."

Patricia Jennings is a patient at the surgery Credit: ITV News

It comes as senior doctors warn the NHS is on a knife edge, with long waits at accident and emergency units and GPs in some areas being told to avoid sending patients to hospital without seeing them face-to-face first.

Prof Mike Holmes, GP and partner at Haxby Group, has previously said there was "a real possibility" the surgery could close permanently.

He told a council meeting in December that after the pandemic the profession "simply cannot recruit."

He said that the sector is struggling to keep wages in line with inflation and abuse from the public is "driving people away from wanting to work on the frontline of healthcare."

He said: "One of my receptionists has been told she is a 'worthless person' with a couple of expletives thrown in for good measure.

"These people are amazing, they are tirelessly committed...they're getting abused by the very people we're trying to help."