CONTROVERSIAL plans to close a Southampton GP practice have been put on hold.

Health bosses have decided to defer the decision on whether to close Bath Lodge in Commercial Street until after they have completed a review of all GP practices in the east of the city.

But in the meantime, Bath Lodge patients list will be merged with the one at Chessel Practice as the surgeries - which serve more than 20,000 patients between them- will now function as one business.

This means that patients can be sent to either Bath Lodge or the two Chessel sites, in Sullivan Road, Sholing and Chessel Avenue, Bitterne.

Daily Echo:

As reported, due to difficulties with GP recruitment health bosses had to decide whether to merge the businesses of the two practices to become one and whether to move services from the Bath Lodge site to the two Chessel sites.

Local residents and Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith opposed to the proposal to close Bath Lodge saying the move would result in a worse service for patients.

Mr Smith said merging the patient lists is not a problem as residents will have the choice to choose where to go but he said that the potential closure of Bath Lodge was the patients’s main concern.

The decision over the future of the two practices was made yesterday by the Primary Medical Care Commissioning Committee at NHS Southampton City CCG.

A spokesman for Southampton City CCG said Chessel and Bath Lodge Practices have already the same partners and management and will now have one patients list.

Meanwhile, a review of all primary care sites and access in east Southampton will be undertaken and will involve engagement with local communities, practices and other stakeholders.

Southampton City CCG said the review is anticipated to be concluded by the end of March 2020.

Daily Echo:

Following the decision taken yesterday, Mr Smith said: “I have been concerned about these proposals from the initial announcement and have subsequently tried to find out as much information as possible. I’m pleased to say that for now the CCG have listened. I am really pleased that they are doing a review because it’s long overdue.

"I think this is a positive step, although I will be monitoring this very closely over the months ahead and pushing the CCG to address the many issues that have been identified with me by the patients of these practices.

"A review is fair enough, however if we can recognise most of the issues now then work should be underway straightaway.”It is understood that patients lists will be merged over the next months.