Patients of a Portadown medical practice are being urged to continuing using the service as normal despite ongoing concerns over its viability.
Earlier on Wednesday, questions were raised over the future of Bannview Medical Practice, which has been dogged with issues over the last number of years.
This evening, Upper Bann MP, Carla Lockhart, said she had been contacted by those registered with the practice who are “deeply concerned that it appears to have ceased operating, leaving patients in limbo and feeling very vulnerable”.
The DUP representative added: “The long term problems at Bannview are well documented and it is regrettable that a sustainable model does not appear to have been found that provides the certainty of care that those registered with the practice deserve and require.
“Serious questions need to be asked of the Health Department now as to how we have got to this point, and how patients needs will be met. I have contacted the Trust and the Minister to try and ensure a solution is found.”
However, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust says the Bannview remains open and that “patients should continue to contact the practice as normal”.
A spokesperson for the Trust added: “The Trust is continuing to work closely with the Health and Social Care Board to secure a solution as quickly as possible to the current GP shortages in the Bannview Medical Practice Portadown.
“Patients with urgent care needs will continue to be assessed through the normal telephone triage process, which for the next few days will be provided by the Trust’s Phone First service. Arrangements have also been put in place for patients with particular medical conditions.
“Bannview Practice patients who are scheduled to receive their Covid-19 vaccination should still attend their appointment.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie commented: “I have just had a meeting with the Health Minister Robin Swann and representatives from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
“I understand many people have been left confused and frustrated today when they rang Bannview. I can confirm answer system was set up to make sure anyone needing immediate medical assistance was able to access this in the short term. From tomorrow onwards this will be changed and phone calls should be answered.
“GP cover has been arranged and will be in place tomorrow onwards, the trust are working hard to make sure there is a more permanent solution put in place but for now I can assure those who are under Bannview care that GPs will be put in place for medical assessments, prescriptions and any other needs.
I must stress that the vaccination clinic due to take place next Thursday will go ahead so please do not cancel that appointment.”