Plans to close health clinic in east Leeds sparks concern among councillors

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth and Swillington), pictured right with service users, was involved in a campaign to stop Garforth Clinic's closure in 2011.
Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth and Swillington), pictured right with service users, was involved in a campaign to stop Garforth Clinic's closure in 2011.
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Councillors are calling on NHS bosses to scrap plans to close a Garforth health clinic and help turn the area into a primary care hub.

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH) unveiled plans to shut Garforth Clinic, in Lidgett Lane, last month as it bids to reduce the number of buildings it uses.

The trust claims the facility is under-used and in need of investment, prompting the suggestion that services should move to Kippax Health Centre two miles away.

Councillors held a “very constructive” meeting with LCH last week to discuss the plan and plea for the facility to remain open at a time when Leeds is aiming to build 70,000 new homes by 2028.

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth and Swillington), who also has concerns over transport to the Kippax site, said: “Garforth is already the biggest community in outer east Leeds and will undoubtedly grow.

“It would make more sense to think of Garforth as a hub for primary healthcare and not take those services out.”

He said in the meeting with LCH, NHS bosses were open-minded to councillors’ suggestions they could be more “creative” in offering health care in Garforth. He proposed hosting some services within other NHS, private or council spaces.

The NHS earmarked Garforth Clinic for closure in 2011 because the building was not up to scratch but a local campaign gave it a reprieve.

Coun Andrea McKenna said: “It’s not the first time they have tried to close the clinic. Our argument is stop taking services out and moving them.”

An LCH spokesman said: “The changes we are proposing will support progress towards a more equitable and planned distribution of services.”

He added that it is working at possible transport issues and would work with anyone affected by service changes. To respond to the consultation, which closes on November 5, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCHServiceLocations.

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