I’M writing as one of the partners of Argyle Medical Group in response to Mr Vince’s letter last week regarding the closure of St Clements Surgery and which was subsequently shared via your Facebook page.

In Mr Vince’s letter he states that the reasons behind us closing the surgery are for our financial gain. I would like the opportunity to rebut this assertion and on record state that this is a clinical decision; finances are not driving this.

While people understandably feel that Pembrokeshire should sell itself to new doctors, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to and recruitment of health practitioners to West Wales is challenging both for hospital and primary care As a practice we are short of clinical staff, particularly GPs and as result of this have had to look at the way we manage our service to enable it to best meet the needs of our practice population as a whole. We are well aware of the difficulties accessing appointments across all of our sites however this is symptomatic of the same issue and we are actively trying to find ways to address this.

We are looking to a more diverse team of health professionals to help run our service and make up for the GP shortfall. This includes nurse practitioners, physician associates and emergency nurse practitioners. Whilst highly skilled and experienced in their own right, in order to deploy this way of working requires a GP on site to oversee things and provide support where necessary. On our current manpower, we can only do this safely across a smaller number of sites.

I would agree that GPs are well remunerated and although it is a privilege in many ways, it is also becoming an increasingly stressful job. In other parts of Wales practices have reached a point where the workload has become untenable and their clinicians have moved elsewhere or taken retirement.

Most of us have trained locally, genuinely enjoy our work and appreciate the area in which we serve. We really don’t wish to reach that point and because of this are trying to be proactive in managing the current situation.

We genuinely do recognise that some of these decisions are unpopular and might cause difficulties for those living north of the Cleddau.

We haven’t come to these conclusions lightly. What we need to be able to do is provide a safe and sustainable service going forward and although we are open to ideas, as things stand this is the only way that we believe we can do this.


Argyle Medical Group