The potential closure of a Shaw GP surgery branch is causing ‘great concern’ for elderly and vulnerable patients, councillors warn.
Oldham’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) are considering a proposal to close a branch of The Parks Medical Practice at Trent Road in High Crompton.
More than 6,000 patients are registered at the practice, and currently they can choose where they want to receive health care, with around a thousand being seen at Trent Road.
But in April, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated the practice as ‘inadequate’ and it was placed in special measures.
The CCG says that closing the Trent Road facility is required to improve services from at the surgery’s main base at Royton Health and Wellbeing Centre.
And leaders from the GP surgery told the Local Democracy Reporting Service their ‘hands are tied’
Dr Rakesh Kohli said: “I set up Trent Road with my old retired partner Dr Pal, have put years of service into Trent road, and have great regard for all my patients there, it just seems red tape takes over more and more.
“I will be deeply saddened if the surgery has to close, as it would seem like losing a dear friend, but it is not in my hands, but in the hands of legislation.
“I would like to thank all our staff and patients for their continual support.”
But if the closure goes ahead, the CCG says that The Parks Medical Practice would not take on a reduced number of patients.
The Trent Road ‘satellite’ surgery has been in place in a converted shop since 1982, and offers GP appointments four days a week with one doctor on site.
Shutting it would save the CCG an estimated £14,757, documents show.
It is a 40 minute walk from Trent Road to the Royton practice, or half an hour on public transport, catching two buses.
More than 180 people have signed a petition against closing it down, with a consultation detailing concerns about patients not being able to get to Royton, or get their medication.
Liberal Democrat borough and parish councillors in Oldham and Shaw have also raised concerns about the plans, and the previous CQC inspection report.
Group leader, Councillor Howard Sykes said: “My colleagues are very concerned about this and the focus of our efforts is what is best for patients.
“This whole matter is causing great concern to a large number of elderly and vulnerable people who need some assurance and certainly on where and how they will access primary health care.
“They need to make a decision quickly even if it is not what we and local residents want to provide some certainty as this dithering and delay is having massive impact on the mental well being of hundreds of local Shaw and Crompton residents.”
A spokesman for the CCG said that 70 pc of the time patients access the main surgery in Royton for treatment.
They added that part of the feedback from CQC inspectors was that all of the practice’s sites needed to be fully accessible, and provide a full range of services.
Reports state that it is not possible to install a wheelchair ramp to access the Trent Road branch, and it has only one consulting room, and no masked area or interview room for facilitate confidential conversation or privacy.
“For this reason the practice is of the view that to help it provide a service that is safe, effective and well-led, as well as caring and responsive, it needs to concentrate efforts on the main site and close its Trent Road branch,” the spokesman said.
“The practice are not applying to reduce their registered list or their practice boundaries, so no patients would have to register elsewhere.
“However, it is anticipated that some patients might choose to register elsewhere if the closure were to be approved. All Oldham practices are currently open for registration.
“Patient views have been sought through a consultation undertaken by the practice, but also issues as safety, access and also the sustainability of the practice as a whole need to be considered in making a decision.”
A decision will be taken by the CCG’s primary care commissioning committee but a date has yet to be confirmed.
Lib Dem councillor Diane Williamson outside the Trent Road branch of the GP surgery in High Crompton