Northern Ireland news

Health authorities to take over Priory and Springhill GP surgeries in Co Down

The Priory Surgery in Holywood. Picture by Hugh Russell
Suzanne McGonagle

HEALTH authorities are to take over two surgeries in Co Down after talks to find new doctors to run them failed.

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust is to operate Priory Surgery in Holywood, which incorporates Springhill Surgery in Bangor, on a temporary basis.

It comes after the GP partners at the practice announced in August that they would hand back their contract to health bosses on February 1 2023. A search was launched to find a replacement contractor or group of GPs to provide the services.

But it emerged yesterday that no new doctors had been found.

In a statement, the Department of Health confirmed the trust had "agreed to take on the contract" for the Priory and Springhill practice, which operates from the two sites and provides GP services for almost 15,000 patients.

The department said "under this new temporary arrangement, which will take effect from 1 February 2023, the trust will work with the department to secure ongoing locum GP cover for the practice".

"It follows extensive work to identify a new GP contractor to take over the practice, following the resignation of the current GP partners," the statement added.

The department also said "patients do not need to take any action" and "can be assured that its services will continue under the new arrangement".

Roisin Coulter, chief executive of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, also said: "We understand this is a very worrying time for patients belonging to the Priory and Springhill GP practices.

"The trust will continue to work very closely with our GP and Department of Health colleagues to minimise disruption and ensure continuity of essential GP services for patients."

Northern Ireland news