A SHEFFIELD dad was told he couldn't register his family with his local GP - because staff need to devote extra time to non-English speaking patients.
Christopher Dowsett wanted to enrol his partner and their one-year-old daughter at Firth Park Surgery - the practice nearest their Foxglove Road home.
Christopher, aged 22, was already a patient at the surgery and when his girlfriend and child moved from Edlington, Doncaster, to live with him he went to get them registered too.
His partner had been suffering from a rash which she needed treatment for, and his daughter was due to have her MMR vaccinations - but the couple were told they could not be registered as the new patient list at the practice was closed.
A letter explaining the situation listed a series of reasons - including an increase in non-English speaking patients who "require additional time and resources to ensure they receive the high level of service to which all of our patients have the right".
The extended leave of two GPs, a long-term sickness problem concerning the practice nurse, and an outdated computer system were also blamed.
But the closure of the list has not been approved by the Sheffield Primary Care Trust - who said they will be working with the surgery to ensure it remains open.
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Mr Dowsett said he was disgusted with the way he had been treated by the practice.
He said: "I want my family to be registered at the same place as me but to just be told 'no' is disgraceful.
"The decision has led to a delay in my daughter getting her jabs, and my girlfriend getting treatment.
"They used to be registered in Doncaster but they can't be making the trip there every time they need to see a doctor.
"I just think it's disgusting that they have turned away a one-year-old baby. It's been stressful enough with all the move over here, we didn't need this adding to it."
A spokeswoman for NHS Sheffield apologised and claimed difficulties at the surgery had been heightened following the suspected murder of one of its former GPs, Dr Colin Shawcross.
Although he had left the surgery a year ago to work in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital's Endoscopy Department, she said his move and subsequent disappearance had had both practical implications on patient numbers, and personal implications for those who had worked or been treated by him for many years.
The spokeswoman said: "We are very sorry to hear about Mr Dowsett's experience with Firth Park surgery.
"We know the practice is currently struggling to take on new patients due to the impact of the sudden presumed death of one of the GPs and extended leave of two others, but we have not agreed for the practice to close its list to new patients.
"We will be continuing to work with them to understand what extra support they need to ensure the list remains open and patient care remains at the high standard we expect. We would ask Mr Dowsett to contact our registrations team straight away so we can resolve any issues he has."
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