Yet another surgery closes.. NHSreality has been told of scores of surgeries closing since the last post on this subject. Neyland has two surgeries, and so one will have to do. Some closures lead to large travelling needs, great inconvenience, and sometimes expense. The idea that “access” should be free and easy is being challenged by a thinning primary care workforce – why? There are just not enough doctors, and this is only the beginning of a ten year decline. A&E departments, particularly in Wales, (Owain Clarke for BBC Wales: A&E safety risks ‘unacceptable’, first minister warned) are imploding, and as NHSreality has pointed out in the past, there may come a day when ambulances ask the patient to choose between state A&E and Private A&E departments. Do the people of Neyland, who have another practice they can attend, prefer a surgery manned by paramedics and nurses, untrained in differential diagnosis or living with uncertainty? Fortunately, Pembrokeshire is benefitting from increasing numbers of Trainee applicants for General Practice, mainly due to financial inducements, and will be relatively better off in 5 years time than other regions. In the last 6 months 50,000 patients have lost their surgery.….. over 2 years about 4 million. This becomes a sizeable, angry, voting population….
Neyland looks set to lose one of its two doctor’s surgeries.
Argyle Medical Group is planning to close the St Clement’s Surgery, it announced on Wednesday.
It means Neyland patients will have to pay £1.50 a time to cross the Cleddau Bridge to attend appointments in Pembroke Dock’s Argyle Street surgery.
Argyle Street itself is already under major pressure with photographs over recent months showing patients in large queues trying to get appointments.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday evening, Argyle Medical Group, said: “Argyle Medical Group has submitted an application to Hywel Dda Local Health Board to close the Branch Surgery at St. Clements Neyland.
“The reason for this application is to consolidate & maintain patient care services at a time of reduced GP numbers at the practice.
“Despite concerted attempts at GP recruitment over recent years the practice has been unsuccessful. The practice has been successful in recruiting a further Nurse & Pharmacy practitioner & is continuing to try to recruit further such practitioners.
“The practice plans to increase its capacity to deal with urgent medical problems by offering increased clinical practitioner appointments. These practitioners will be backed up by a GP to provide immediate advice as needed. It is planned this service will be provided from Argyle Surgery, Pembroke Dock alone.
“Argyle Medical Group will continue to provide the full range General Medical Services to its registered patients in Neyland & the surrounding area. In order to facilitate the enhanced same-day service at Argyle Surgery it is proposed that appointments at St. Oswalds Surgery, Pembroke will change from a same day to a pre-booked appointment system.
“The practice consider this action to be the only option to enable a safe level of clinical care to be offered to all its registered patients at a time when recruitment & retention of clinical staff is extremely challenging.”
The move has sparked anger in the town with patients blasting the decision as ‘absolutely disgraceful.’
Neyland county councillor Simon Hancock said the move cannot be allowed to happen.
He has organised a meeting for Neyland residents.
Cllr Hancock said: “A public meeting will be held at Neyland Athletic Club next Thursday 25 January at 7pm to protest against the proposed closure of St. Clement’s Surgery. It cannot be allowed to happen.
“A campaign committee will be formed. Please come along to show your support for a matter of enormous importance for every person and family registered there.”
Cllr Hancock, who is mayor of Neyland, added: “The proposed closure of the surgery is completely unacceptable and will put patients in Neyland and the surrounding villages at risk.
“A town of the size of Neyland needs good quality medical facilities and the Argylr Medical Group will be breaching their responsibilities in seeking to close their Neyland base.
“People without transport will be disadvantaged, people will have to pay travel costs and the consequences when the Cleddau Bridge is closed to all traffic are too shocking to contemplate.
“I hope we have an excellent and representative turnout to the public meeting to fight the proposed closure. Simply this is a battle Neyland cannot afford to lose.”
Fellow Neyland county councillor Paul Miller, said: “‘While I understand recruitment of GP’s is difficult this proposed move is a serious betrayal, by the Argyle Medical Group, of its patients in Neyland.
“I’ll be standing side by side with the people of the town in opposition to what would be a serious backward step in the provision of vital medical care.
“The Health Board must block this request and engage with us in an urgent conversation about providing a sustainable GP service for Neyland.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MO Stephen Crabb said: “This is hugely disappointing news that St Clements Surgery feel the need to close due to a failure to recruit.
“Pembrokeshire is a fantastic place to live and work and more should have been done by the Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Welsh Government, who hold power over the NHS in Wales, to ensure that St Clements Surgery had staff in place to remain open.
“The Welsh Labour Government have known about recruitment problems in rural practices for a long time and have failed to come up with a strategy.
Jan 27th 2016 – almost 2 years ago: The sick parade – of GP closures. This list heralds the end of the health service as we knew it.