CONCERN over the resignation of a Tenby GP has been voiced by the chairman of a local health watchdog.

While the 8,000-plus patients of Tenby Surgery are being reassured by the health board that it will remain open, the practice is “already struggling to cope” and has “a complete lack of continuity for patients”, said Councillor Jon Preston.

Cllr Preston is the chair of the South East Pembrokeshire Community Health Network which will be discussing the ongoing difficulties at Tenby Surgery at its next meeting on Thursday, May 31 (2pm at New Hedges Village Hall).

It was announced last Friday that Dr Damien Kelly – who has been on leave from the practice – has given in his notice, to take effect from August 1.

The surgery has been without its full complement of salaried GPs for nearly four years.

Hywel Dda University Health Board said Dr Kelly’s resignation and return of the practice’s General Medical Services (GMS) contract means the provision of services at the surgery will become the direct responsibility of the health board for the time being.

Popular Dr Kelly’s resignation will leave the surgery without any full-time GPs and Cllr Preston asked: “Has the practice been taken into special measures?

“It’s an absurd state of affairs to have a doctors’ surgery without any (full-time) doctors.

“I understand there are existing problems with the recruitment of GPs in Pembrokeshire, but Saundersfoot and Narberth surgeries seem to be managing and can offer patient appointments to see a GP.”

GP cover at the surgery will be provided by the salaried GP and regular locums, supported by nurse and paramedic practitioners and the GP telephone consulting service.

Elaine Lorton, assistant director of primary care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The continued sustainability of general medical services for the future of patients registered at Tenby Surgery is of paramount importance for the health board, and we see this as an opportunity to strengthen services locally.

“A public engagement event will be held in Tenby in the forthcoming weeks and patients will receive a letter with an update and further details.”