More time to have a say on future of Leeds village GP surgery

UNDER THREAT: Swillington Health Practice.
UNDER THREAT: Swillington Health Practice.
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People have been given more time to have their say on the future of a village GP surgery after its potential closure sparked a public outcry.

NHS bosses have extended the deadline to take part in a public consultation on the future of Swillington Health Practice.

They are due to make a decision on the future of the practice, along with New Cross Surgery in Rothwell and Middleton Park Surgery.

Around 120 people attended a meeting at Swillington Village Hall on Saturday, when fears were raised that elderly people would have too far to travel for treatment if the surgery closed.

Complaints were also made that the consultation, which originally ended on January 1, was being rushed and not enough people had taken part.

Villager Bill Heszelgrave, 78, a patient at the Swillington practice along with his wife Valerie, 68, said: “If it closes I don’t know where we’ll go.

“If that happens it means getting the bus and there isn’t a very good service here.”

People are being urged to take part in a questionnaire on the surgery’s future before the new deadline of January 24.

Mum-of-four Jayne Harding, 50, said: “The surgery is a vital service. Elderly and vulnerable people need a doctor’s on their doorstop. We need to get people to fill in the questionnaire so the people making the decision are working with the correct information.”

Healthcare provider Grange Medicare will cease running the three surgeries when its contract ends in October.

Jacqui Smith, who chairs the surgery’s Patient Representative Group, said: “There were people who hadn’t got their questionnaires until after the closing date. It’s all been rushed.

“We are hoping, after the strength of feeling demonstrated at the meeting, that the panel making the decision will take that into account and retain the doctors’ surgery at Swillington.”

The NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “In response to feedback that some people did not receive a copy of the survey in the post, the CCG would like to apologise to local people as we understood these had been delivered in November. We have extended the engagement period and completed surveys will be accepted until Wednesday, January 24.” To take part log on to www.leedssouthandeastccg.nhs.uk

Copies are also available from Swillington Pharmacy, on Church Lane.