Campaigners call for closure of Weston surgery to be delayed until health hub is built
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Campaigners have pleaded with a Government minister to prevent the closure of a Weston surgery and accelerate the creation of a new health centre.
Clarence Park Surgery is under threat of closure, or it could be downgraded to a branch practice for Graham Road Surgery as NHS commissioners consider their options.
But patient representatives say neither course of action makes sense when health secretary Matt Hancock has promised £3million for a new health hub in the town centre, and are appealing for him to intervene.
Speaking at North Somerset Council's May meeting, Clarence Park Patients' Participation Group (PPG) vice chairman Alan Rice said: "Last autumn, patients of Clarence Park surgery were rudely awakened when a sale notice appeared for the surgery, and rumours abounded the sale had already taken place.
"Following a discussion between the surgery and North Somerset's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the sale was dropped.
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"A meeting was held in November to explain the proposal to close Clarence Park and move the 4,000 patients to Graham Road, where it was already difficult to get an appointment or park.
"In the meantime the health secretary authorised funding in December of £3.26million to deliver relocation of an existing practice in central Weston.
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"Why, if this was on the cards, was there any necessity to press on with the merger of Clarence Park and Graham Road surgeries?
"The new health centre would take too long, was the short answer, but taking a long time seems to be the CCG's speciality."
Mr Rice said the PPG had considered calling for a judicial review into the CCG's consultation process, but could not afford the £70,000 cost.
He added: "We're left with an appeal to the secretary of state to step in to stop the closure."
A CCG spokesman said the investment and potential merger are separate issues, adding: "Large, complex capital programmes such as these inevitably take time to complete.
"The practices have made it clear through public consultation they have pressing issues.
"Therefore, it is not possible to wait for a long-term capital programme to be completed, as the sustainability issues at these two practices need to be addressed now."