A DOCTOR’S surgery in Christchurch has urged patients to be “more mindful of contacting” the practice as they struggle to recruit new GPs.

Stour Surgery issued a notice to their patients ahead of the departure of two doctors in the next few weeks.

Dr Christine de Silva and Dr Robert Jones are both set to leave the Barrack Road practice.

Despite extensive efforts to bring in new doctors, the surgery says it has found itself as the “victims” of the national GP recruitment crisis.

The notice issued to patients, said: “Sadly, we are saying goodbye to Dr de Silva and Dr Jones in the coming weeks.

“We have been working hard to recruit new GPs since January this year but unfortunately, as you will all be aware, the NHS is facing a national GP recruitment crisis, which we now find ourselves victims of.

“Our GPs are working 12 hours a day to keep on top of our NHS contractual requirements. We therefore politely ask all our patients to be more mindful of contacting your GP at this time.

“Our receptionists/nurses may sign post you to alternative options, such as the local pharmacist, e-Consult, Help & Care (www.helpandcare.org.uk) and Livewell Dorset (www.livewelldorset.co.uk).

“Please allow 48 hours for your prescription requests to be processed.”

The statement also says the open surgery walk-in clinic, which runs from Monday to Friday, with check in at reception from 8.30am to 10.15am, is for acute problems and minor injuries. It is not able to deal with routine or on-going issues, prescription requests, vaccinations and blood pressure checks.

“We will continue to prioritise the work we do as NHS service providers, therefore, private work, medical reports, claim forms, letters etc may take up to 6 weeks to complete,” the notice said.

Patients registered with the two departing GPs will be cared for by a locum GP while the surgery works to recruit new staff.

Once this is complete patients will be transferred to one of the new doctors.

The notice added: “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but would like to re-assure you we are working hard to solve the situation.”

One resident on Facebook asked the surgery if it could merge with Christchurch Medical Practice, however, the surgery replied stating it had no plans to merge.

In the 2019 GP Patient Survey, Stour Surgery recorded an overall patient satisfaction rating of 95 per cent. This was eight per cent up on 2018, 12 per cent above the national average and ranked the practice 17th in Dorset.