Ilford doctor’s surgery to close as thousands look elsewhere

�A busy doctor’s surgery will close when its GP retires after 25 years at the practice.

Dr Branko Kalebic will leave the Garden Surgery, The Drive, Ilford on September 1, with all of his 2,700 patients needing to find another doctor. Long-time patient of the surgery Sandra Field, of Poplar Way, Barkingside has called for health bosses to find a locum for the vacancy until a permanent replacement is found for the Croatia-born GP.

She said: “I have been going there for 50 years and the receptionists and nurses are wonderful. It would be awful if it closes.

“My husband and I don’t want to have to go to a health centre.”

Representatives from NHS Outer North East London (ONEL) are holding a drop-in session at the surgery today (Thursday) at 2pm to help patients find another doctor nearby.

But Mrs Field said she hopes to turn the session into a discussion over the future of the practice.

An ONEL spokesman said: “The surgery itself would require considerable investment and refurbishment to meet new government standards for premises.

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“We understand that changing GPs can make some people anxious, but patients generally prefer not to see locums as they only offer a temporary solution.

“Most patients prefer to build a relationship with their GP so it makes more sense for Dr Kalebic’s patients to register with one of the six nearby practices who have been open for many years and are happy to register them.”

In a letter to patients last week Dr Kalebic wrote: “It is with deep regret that I am resigning from my surgery. I would like to thank all my patients who have supported the Garden Surgery, many of who I have known most of my working life.”

He added: “It has been a privilege being your practitioner and looking after your medical care.”

Any patients concerned about the closure can phone the patient liaison service on 0800 0926 995.