Share this article

Thousands of patients could see the journey to their GP go from a few minutes’ walk to half an hour by bus after a school linked to one of London’s top universities told the surgery to leave its current base. King’s Maths School, which is run in partnership with King’s College London, has given Lambeth Walk Group Practice until May to leave its premises on Lambeth Walk, Kennington.

The Outstanding-rated school for pupils aged 16 to 19 intends to refurbish the building and move into it from September 2025 as part of its expansion plans. Bosses at Lambeth Walk Group Practice, which serves over 8,000 patients across Lambeth and Southwark, have been looking for new long-term premises in the local area for years, but have so far been unable to find a suitable building.

Patients now face the prospect of having to be seen in a medical centre 30 minutes away in Camberwell from June. The news has left patients of the CQC good-rated surgery worried about how they will reach their GP in the future.

Lesley Lever, 75, who has been a patient at the surgery for 15 years, said: “It’s absolutely disastrous. You can’t get a better GP. I moved from another local GP practice to Lambeth Walk and I wouldn’t dream of going back to the old one.”

Mrs Lever said she would have to take the bus to reach the surgery if it moved to the Akerman Health Centre in Camberwell, which would take around 30 minutes, significantly increasing her journey time to the practice which is currently just a five-minute walk away.

She added: “I think King’s Maths School has some moral responsibility to think about local people who can’t move around as easily as young people who can get anywhere easily. I volunteer at St Thomas’ Hospital: there’s a queue outside at 12 o’clock on Mondays. If I was a local person and I thought I can’t get two buses, then I would go to A&E. It will put pressure on the hospital.”

Michael Timm, 57, who has been a patient at Lambeth Walk Group Practice since the late 1990s, said he’d have to consider switching surgeries if the move to Camberwell went ahead. He said: “It’s [a] half an hour [journey] by bus instead of five to 10 minutes walking. It will be much more difficult to get there. It would mean I would have to look for another GP, which I don’t want to do. It’s a bit daunting.

“I use it on a regular basis: I have a couple of health issues. To have a GP near me is a must. Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with my GP [at Lambeth Walk].”

Mark Havelock-Allan, whose family have used the surgery for 40 years, added: “Patients are desperate for it to stay on the site or the north part of Kennington. The most concerned are those of an older age.”

Florence Eshalomi, Labour MP for Vauxhall, said: “This is understandably causing anxiety among Lambeth Walk patients, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable and unable to travel long distances.

“Ultimately, the long-term goal is to find a permanent home for Lambeth Walk GP that is close to the current location. This work is ongoing and I am committed to working with all partners to find a solution which prioritises patient wellbeing whilst respecting King’s Maths School’s right to expand.”

Maria Linforth-Hall, a local Liberal Democrat councillor, added: “This is a growing and diverse community that needs good quality local healthcare. However, rather than being improved, local health services are being moved out of the borough by opportunistic landlords. Lambeth Walk will be the second GP to close in this area, leaving thousands more struggling to get the accessible healthcare they need.”

A spokesperson from King’s College London Mathematics School (KCLMS) said: “Lambeth Walk GP and NHS Estates have been aware of the end of the temporary lease since 2015, and understanding the challenges in finding an alternative location, we have supported the surgery by extending their lease twice, most recently until May 2024. We know they are working hard to find a permanent location in the local area.

“We are looking to refurbish the interior of the existing building and create more opportunities for students from the local area and beyond to study at KCLMS, as well as enable more outreach work within the local community.” Lambeth Walk Group Practice was contacted for comment but failed to reply by the time of publication.


Get the latest news for South London direct to your inbox once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share this article