All five Ramsgate GP surgeries are managing patient lists due to ‘clinical safety reasons’

Health services

All five Ramsgate GP surgeries are at full capacity -or over capacity – and are now managing their lists by referring new patient requests to the Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group.

One patient who has moved from Birchington to Ramsgate says she has been unable to register her family and been told to collect letters from the surgeries to send on to the CCG.


A letter from Newington Road Surgery states that the decision to manage lists is due to “the difficult situation we find ourselves in.”

It adds: “We came to this decision based on clinical safety reasons. We currently have nearly 8,000 patients and just two GPs, almost  4,000 patients per GP. The national average is 1,800 per GP.

“We have been advertising for a new GP to join our team since August 2015 without success. This is a situation echoed in practices locally and nationally.

“Junior doctors do not see general practice as an appealing prospect and many experienced GPs are burnt out through pressure of work and are leaving the profession.

“Some local surgeries have closed down recently, adding additional pressures on the remaining few.”

A letter from Dashwood Medical Centre also says the decision is due to clinical safety reasons with 10,400 patients and just three whole time GPs.

At The Grange there are 12,000 patients meaning it is at capacity. A letter from the practice says: “We have been advised by NHS England, Kent and Medway Area Team, that we may register new patients but we are not obligated.”

The practice says for safety reasons it will only register new patients each month equal to the number of people who have left the surgery in that timespan.


The mother trying to register her family said: “The process of collecting the letters from each surgery was time consuming and frustrating. I had to queue for a while in a couple of the surgeries, not to mention the waste of paper. My thoughts are with those who are not as mobile as me, and those who are vulnerable, the elderly, disabled, and those suffering with mental health issues. How would they have found this process to complete?

“I am also concerned for my daughter who suffers from asthma and relies on several preventative medications to keep her condition stable. What happens now when she runs out of medicine? What would happen to other patients without a GP?

The figures stated in two of the letters are particularly shocking.”

‘Significant challenge’

Caroline Selkirk, Managing Director of East Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The recruitment of GPs remains a significant challenge nationally, and for Thanet’s GP practices. Although GP practices are responsible for recruiting their own staff, NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group continues to support all our practices to develop new models of care to support GPs and help improve patient access to healthcare.

“A number of additional services have been introduced to help patients receive the care they need at their local surgery. Advanced nurse practitioners, paramedic practitioners, clinical pharmacists, and a whole range of other healthcare professionals can also provide the care patients need without having to see a GP. Although patients can always still ask to see a GP if they would prefer.

“All Thanet’s GP practices are now organised in three Primary Care Networks. This means that practices are working together to better meet the needs of their patients. For instance a combined team of health and social care professionals, working within an Acute Response Team, provide an immediate response for patients who can be cared for at home with an appropriate care package to relieve pressure on local GPs.

“The opening of the Kent Medical School scheduled for 2020 will also support our efforts to recruit more GPs locally in the future.”

Thanet has 14 GP practices working in three Primary Care Networks – Ramsgate, Margate and  Coastal and Rural East covering Birchington, Broadstairs, Minster and Westgate.

The referrals to the CCG are specific to Ramsgate surgeries which have been ‘list managing’ since 2017. The surgeries will also  employ other GPs as “locums”, associates or as salaried staff so the number of doctors working in a surgery can vary on a daily basis. Practices can refuse to accept new patient registrations but this must be all new requests to register to avoid any discrimination.

Practices must keep a list of the patients that they have refused and provide the patient with a letter with the details of the CCG and any practices in the area accepting new patients. The CCG will then assign the patient to the nearest GP practice in the catchment area.

In November 2018, residents at a public meeting in Ramsgate were told the shocking shortage of GPs, nurses, therapists and specialised medical staff is one of the driving forces behind proposals to change community health and hospital services in Thanet and across Kent and Medway.

Patients registered at each Thanet surgery as of July 1

PracticePatients registered as of 1 July 2018Patients registered as of 1 July 2019Primary Care Network
Birchington medical centre8,8678,888CARE
Broadstairs medical practice7,1747,314CARE
Dashwood medical centre10,12910,203Ramsgate
East Cliff practice15,69315,720Ramsgate
Minster surgery8,4158,467CARE
Mocketts Wood surgery9,1619,214Margate
Newington Road surgery7,8597,756Ramsgate
Northdown surgery9,99410,117Margate
St Peters surgery4,5394,519CARE
Summerhill surgery6,1756,014Ramsgate
The Bethesda medical centre19,45119,445Margate
The Grange medical practice11,99911,976Ramsgate
The Limes medical centre16,14016,671Margate
Westgate surgery10,14710,571CARE


  1. Are the numbers accurate I suspect most GPs have patients on their list who died and have not been removed from the list. Also a lot of GPS only want to work part time because the money is so good they don’t feel they need to work all week. I was told by a doctor that he travels down from south London to THANET each day. I asked him was it worth it he replied “the patients are better down here and I am paid £1000 per day so it is worth the drive.”
    A lot of patients do not need to see a doctor they can be seen by a nurse or paramedic as I believe some surgeries are now using. Also FaceTime could be used on iPhones to the surgeries.

  2. This dire situation reflects the national crisis.
    In the last 10 years , the equivalent of 1,600 GPs have been lost to the NHS, due , mostly, to retirement or transfer or emigration. It is estimated that one in five of our GPs are due to quit in the next 5 years. This has been the first really sustained fall in GP numbers in 50 years.
    In 2017, we had 28,833 GPs in the NHS. Last year that had fallen to 28,257.

    This is a political choice. The Tories imposed “austerity” on us and this is the result. Fewer GPs being recruited. Add to that a reduction in the number of doctors joining from overseas due to the increasingly nasty attitude to them from “Brexit” fanatics. We now have the perfect storm of a declining health service.
    The government could have decided that, as the 2008 crisis was caused by City of London whizz-kids and Bankers investing trillions in worthless bonds, the burden of paying for the disaster should fall on the shoulders of the “Casino capitalists ” who remained fabulously rich after their spending spree.
    But, instead, they decided that the LESS well-off should pay the price. So now we have food-banks because Benefits and low wages cannot cover basic needs. An increase in homelessness and deaths on the streets. Closures of Youth Clubs, Police stations, Care homes–and GP surgeries.

    Votes have consequences.

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