NHS ‘snub’ row following no-show at public meeting about axed Leeds clinic

Coun Mark Dobson.
Coun Mark Dobson.
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Health bosses have been accused of snubbing a public meeting called to address concerns over the controversial closure of Garforth Clinic.

The Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and the NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group both rejected invitations to attend the meeting at Garforth Miners’ Welfare Hall.

More than 180 people turned out for the event, which had been billed as a chance for questions regarding the closure of the clinic to be put to NHS decision-makers.

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth and Swillington) told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The meeting was absolutely rammed and there was a lot of anger in the room.

“When someone makes a decision that affects people’s lives, then the least you would expect is that they would come along and answer questions about it.”

As previously reported by the YEP, Garforth Clinic closed its doors around the end of January following a decision taken by the community healthcare trust.

The trust has said patients will be able to access the same services at clinics in nearby places such as Kippax, Halton and Seacroft.

But residents in Garforth have highlighted issues such as “inadequate” parking at Kippax and possible accessibility problems for people who rely on public transport.

A spokeswoman for the community healthcare trust yesterday said it had chosen not to accept the invitation because the meeting fell during the run-up to Leeds’s council elections.

She told the YEP: “In closely considering pre-election guidance set out for NHS bodies, we took the decision that we were unable to attend.”

The spokeswoman added: “We always want to engage meaningfully with patients, carers and the local population about the services we provide.”

The clinical commissioning group also blamed its absence on the meeting’s pre-election timing.

Both bodies said they would be happy to attend events organised after the election period.