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Doctors in Kent have expressed their concern over the number of patients at their practices, and say it puts patient safety at risk. Seven out of eight GP practices in Folkestone are planning to stop accepting any new patients over these safety fears.

Hawkinge and Eltham Valley GP practice already has 9,000 patients registered at the practice and won’t be accepting any more.

Practice GP Dr Mahmood said: “This is the last thing we want to do but we are concerned that if any more pressure is put on us we will not be able to provide a service.”

GP shortages and a practice with 4,500 about to close has made the situation worse in the area.

Folkestone East Family Practice will close on 1 November after failing to recruit enough GPs to stay open.

The patients would normally be split between the surrounding practices but they have all come together and said they will not accept any new patients.

South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has confirmed they have received an application to close patient lists from: Central Surgery, Guildhall St Surgery, Hawkinge & Elham Surgery, Manor Clinic, The New Surgery, Park Farm Surgery and Sandgate Road Surgery and that it would consider the applications of these seven practices.

Folkestone and Hythe Conservative MP Damian Collins told the BBC: “What the GPs are saying is they would require additional resource to take on more patients. 

“[It is] an important negotiation about the resource that will be required to be invested in order to accommodate additional patients at some of the additional practices.”

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