A POPLEY councillor has said he is "disappointed" that it was necessary for a GP surgery to be taken over.

Cllr David Potter said that the "deterioration" of the service provided by Bermuda and Marlowe practice in Popley has been "very disappointing".

It comes after The Gazette revealed this morning that the partners, who run Shakespeare Health Centre, will not have their contract renewed when it expires in March.

It was also revealed that Bramblys Grange Health Centre, who run GP surgeries in the town centre and Rooksdown, are in "advanced talks" to take over the service.

Reacting to the news this morning, Cllr Potter (Basingstoke and Deane Independents, Popley East) said: "I am disappointed really, in terms of the whole situation with GP practices at the moment."

He said that he was involved in negotiations to get the Bermuda and Marlowe partnership, which also runs Fort Hill Surgery in Winklebury on a Wednesday afternoon, to take the contract.

After initially having good ratings at first, he says the service deteriorated over the past few years.

In the summer, The Gazette reported how it had the second lowest satisfaction rating among patients in Basingstoke.

"It is really disappointing to see how things have fallen away over that time.

"Whilst it is a sign of the times when these amalgamations come over, and we have got these American provider organisations sniffing around as well, it nevertheless represents a real threat to GP service provision in Basingstoke and the people in Popley as well.

"Clearly there has been this massive shortage of GPs and the pressure on them has been enormous but I can't see it leading to anything other than a reduction in GP provision in Basingstoke. Gone are the days that you had some relationship with your GP and you could actually talk with confidence about your situation."

He conceded that there was not much of an alternative to the merger, after NHS North Hampshire CCG decided with the partners not to renew their contract when it expires in March 2021.

"I have got to be hopeful really. I would be optimistic that we would have good professionals involved who would seek to raise the service.

"But when it comes down to it what the average citizen wants is a real relationship with a general practitioner and the ability to talk to him or her whenever they want so there is somebody who understands their circumstances."

Referring to the recent news that American-owned healthcare firm Operose Health have merged with the Camrose, Gillies and Hackwood Partnership, he said the provision of GP services was "worrying".

"With the advent of Brexit and the relationship with America changing, and the stories about the NHS being offered to the Americans as a bargaining chip, leads to all sorts of concerns about the future of the NHS."