THOUSANDS of patients will have to find a new GP surgery after two doctors announced they were retiring from general practice.

Eaton Place Surgery in Brighton is due to close at the end of February, meaning alternative services will need to be found for the more than 5,600 people on its list.

The building where the surgery is based is privately owned and so not expected to be kept for NHS use.

The change will put extra pressure on other GP practices nearby if NHS England cannot find a suitable new location in the area and the doctors to take it on.

The decision by GPs Malcolm Stalker and Robert Mockett to retire was revealed in a letter sent to practice patients by NHS England’s Surrey and Sussex team.

They are the only two doctors based at the surgery.

The letter said: “We are working at pace to identify if alternative, suitable and affordable premises are available in the local area in order to determine whether we can appoint a new provider to treat patients at another location nearby.

“We are also working with other local GP practices to conform which could potentially welcome new case we are unable to identify an alternative surgery site.”

One patient told the Argus: “It is a real shame they are going and it is going to upset a lot of people, particularly older ones.

“You get to know people and get used to a certain place and some may find it difficult to have to travel further afield to find somewhere.”

A spokesperson for NHS England said: “Our priority is to ensure that patients from Eaton Place Surgery have ongoing access to local GP services after the planned retirement of the practice’s two GP partners on February 28, 2015.

“We are continuing to explore all options to secure alternative arrangements to ensure good quality patient care going forwards. We have written to all patients registered at the practice and we will continue to update them as soon as further information is available.”

There are currently 46 practices in the city.