Concerned patients are expected to attend a protest at Bannview Medical Practice today (Friday) after a week of confusing developments at the Portadown Health Centre surgery.
The Health and Social Care Board has said Bannview will not close on January 13, despite a letter signed by the other six practices saying they had been informed that the practice “will cease to exist on Monday, January 16”.
The practices have also applied for temporary list closure with immediate effect, meaning they will not take on any new patients from Bannview, or elsewhere.
The protest has been called by Bannview patient Tony Hendron, who said he is worried about the future and also as a sign of support for Dr Shauna Heenan.
Dr Heenan, who will officially leave Bannview in a week’s time - the last GP to leave the practice - had explained her decision to resign in an impassioned letter printed in the Portadown Times a fortnight ago.
In it, she cited an intolerable workload and said if each of the other practices in the health centre were to take on an extra 1,000 patients they would “one by one collapse”.
UUP councillor Julie Flaherty said she had taken numerous calls from Bannview patients, worried about their future care.
The board spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday “that high quality and safe GP services will continue to be provided from this date (January 13)”.
MLA Doug Beattie said the announcement by the board that it will put in place measures, thought to be the use of temporary medical agency staff, was welcome but that he looked forward to a “long term plan for GP services in Portadown”.
The protest will start at 12.30.