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Darzi Health Centre practice to close
HEALTH bosses have confirmed that a town centre GP practice will close in March, four years after it opened.
The closure of the Darzi Health Centre practice in Darlington on March 31 2013 will mean 829 registered patients will have to be transferred to other GP practices in the town.
The decision to close the practice, at Dr Piper House, in King Street, Darlington, was taken by NHS County Durham and Darlington following a review of the service which found that the it did not offer good value for money compared with other GP practices in the town.
The closure of the practice will increase uncertainty about the future of Dr Piper House, which also houses the town's urgent care centre and out-of-hours medical service.
But NHS officials stressed there are no plans to close Dr Piper House and confirmed that some form of urgent care service will continue to be provided from the site after the practice closes.
The Darzi practice, named after the former Labour Government's health advisor, Lord Ara Darzi, was set up in March 2009, partly to improve primary care facilities for unregistered patients.
The current contract provides "essential primary medical services" to unregistered patients to a contracted level of 1,667 patient attendances a month.
The Darzi practice is made up of a mixture of salaried and locum GPs employed by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
A spokeswoman for NHS County Durham and Darlington said the service review "listened carefully" to the views of patients.
"We did not believe that the service offered the best value for money as the cost per patient is much higher than for other similar GP services in Darlington," she added.
The PCT said it had written to patients registered with the Darzi practice explaining what they need to do in order to register with a new practice.
The PCT spokeswoman said: "We believe there is sufficient capacity at other GP practices."
NHS officials stressed that the urgent care service provided from Dr Piper House from 8am until midnight is not affected.
From midnight to 8am the urgent care service is provided from the emergency department at Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Patients who need urgent care outside normal working hours should call the 111 NHS helpline before going to other services.