CAMPAIGNERS fear Brighton and Hove could be heading for a GP crisis as it emerged the eighth surgery in two years is to close.

The Ridgeway Surgery in Woodingdean is to shut in October following the decision of its two GPs to retire.

It means more than 2,000 patients on the surgery’s list will have to move to another practice.

There are fears the closure will put services under even more pressure.

In January, Lewes Road surgery in Brighton announced it was closing after its GP retired.

In 2015 Eaton Place practice in Kemp Town shut after its two GPs decided to retire, leaving 5,600 patients in need of a new surgery.

Later that year the Care Quality Commission closed Goodwood Court in Hove after raising safety concerns following an inspection.

This meant 9,600 patients on its books had to be moved to another practice.

Last year the privately run group The Practice said it was pulling out of its contract to run GP services leaving 9,700 patients from surgeries in Whitehawk Road, North Street, Willow House in Bevendean and Hangleton Manor needing new GPs.

There is a national shortage of GPs, with growing pressures and demands leading to fewer medics taking up training.

As existing GPs retire or withdraw for a contract, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find replacements, leading to more surgeries having to extend their patient lists.

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive David Liley said: “This may be a small practice but this closure is going to be difficult and inconvenient for patients.

“How many more practices can close in the city before the system stops being viable?

“There is an issue about overall resilience here.

“The NHS may be able to weather this loss but what happens if there are more.

“There may be other GP practices across the city which are also vulnerable to closure with retirements coming up or doctors leaving.

“I would hope there is an underlying plan and a lot of contingency work being done if more follow.

“This issue reflects the national crisis in primary care. It is becoming harder to recruit new GPs and the contract change they have had has made it less attractive.”

Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for ensuring there are enough GP services available in the city.

Clinical chairman David Supple said the priority was to ensure all patients from Ridgeway had ongoing access to local GP services when the practice closed.

He said: “We have written to the surgery’s patients to reassure them that we are working to secure alternative arrangements for their care after October 31, which is the last day appointments will be provided at the practice.

“All patient feedback will be taken into account in reaching a final decision about how to guarantee their future care and we will update patients about this as soon as we can.”

Dr Supple said the CCG recognised there had been a number of practice closures over the last two years.

He said this had put additional pressure on general practice services in the city.

Dr Supple said: “One of the key areas of our plans to improve health and social care across the city is to ensure general practice is more sustainable, more resilient and works efficiently and effectively for the years ahead.

“This will include integrating some services, with other clinical specialists like pharmacists better supporting GPs, and helping GPs work more collaboratively together.”