Dr Russell Thorpe who runs the Old Links Surgery, a single-doctor practice, in Highbury Road East, St.Anne’s, is to retire next year at the end of March after three-and-a-half decades of looking after local people. His wife, Kathy, who works with him as a practice nurse, will also retire.
People registered at a St Anne’s GP practice have been asked to register elsewhere following the decision to close the surgery. The surgery will close with Dr Thorpe’s retirement on 31st March, 2023 and all 2,000 registered patients have been contacted to advise them of the need to change GP.
Dr Thorpe, who started the surgery in December 1988, said: ‘It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the good people of St Anne’s. From my point of view, being a GP is the greatest job in the world. Each day is different with lots of laughter and a few tears. We still have patients who were bold enough to register with Kathy and I when we struck out on our own 34 years ago. I would especially like to thank them for having the vision and faith to support The Old Links Surgery. Seeing the children that were born when we started have their own children is also a great joy.’
Dr Thorpe was raised in York and finished his studies to become a doctor in Liverpool in 1982. After a spell in Southport – where he and Kathy met – and later on the Wirral, he joined the former St Andrews Road South Surgery in October 1987. Having opened his own practice the following year, Dr and Mrs Thorpe moved to Highbury Road East in April 1989.
Dr Peter Gregory, associate medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which plans and buys health services across the Fylde Coast, said: ‘We would like to place on record our thanks to Dr Thorpe who has provided a wonderful service to patients in St Anne’s for many years. We wish him all the very best for his retirement. We ask all patients of The Old Links Surgery to move quickly to change their GP, ideally by early February, to give time for medical records to transfer over and to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. While we understand it can be difficult having to change GP practice, all the other practices in the area are based within excellent, modern primary care facilities which offer a wide range of services from a range of different types of healthcare professional.’
The Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board will support Dr Thorpe in hosting drop-in sessions for anyone with questions or concerns about the closure. Assistance will also be available for anyone needing support to complete GP registration forms. These will take place in the practice on Wednesday 23 November from noon to 2.30pm and Friday 25 November from 9.30am to noon. Patients should read the information below for more details.