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Anxiety grows over future of Wrexham GP surgery

Published date: 16 May 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THE future of a GP surgery still hangs in the balance with a health board yet to make a decision – six months after partners applied to permanently close it.

The Hightown Surgery on Brynycabanau Road, Wrexham, had been due to move into the new health centre earlier this year.

However, the switch did not happen as the surgery was temporarily closed because of staffing difficulties.

Partners at the main Gardden Road practice in Rhos applied to the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in November to close the for good, and a decision was due to be made in April.

But there has been no news about a decision from the Health Board leading to increased anxiety over its future.

Now Wrexham Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths, along with councillors Graham Rogers, Brian Cameron and Anne Evans, is calling for the future of the GP surgery to be resolved once and for all.

After 18 months of uncertainty, Ms Griffiths said: “Hightown Surgery is an integral part of a growing community and hundreds of people rely on the service.

“Clearly, the current temporary service cannot operate properly or effectively due to uncertainty surrounding its future.

“It is a matter of great disappointment the new health centre facility at the Resource Centre is not being used to provide a service for my constituents in the area.

“I have been in discussions with local residents, councillors and members of the Health Board in an attempt to find a solution.”

During ongoing discussions Ms Griffiths received assurances that the Health Board is advertising and looking to recruit salaried GPs to be allocated across North Wales, with the health board aware Wrexham is one of the areas most in need.

She added: “I am pleased the health board is actively seeking to recruit a number of salaried GPs and see this as a positive step forward.

“Permanently closing the surgery would only lead to wider pressures upon GP services across Wrexham and while I realise there are significant challenges, this uncertainty cannot continue and I strongly feel consideration must be given to the Hightown community and neighbouring areas.”

The community health council, which works to enhance and improve the quality of local health services, has made it clear they do not wish the surgery to be withdrawn from Hightown permanently.

The uncertainty and indecision is affecting hundreds of patients in Hightown and beyond its boundaries.

In February, a £15 million housing development officially opened, delivering almost 150 new homes to the area, resulting in a greater demand for health services.

A new health centre facility was constructed as part of the development but as a result of the temporary closure, is not currently being used to its full capacity.

Hightown Surgery originally closed in October 2012 because of a shortage of staff.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were critical of the unauthorised decision.

The health board threatened to withhold £5,000 of funding for every month it remained shut, forcing the partners to reopen the surgery, but on a reduced basis.

It was reopened on an ad-hoc basis for one day a week until November 2013 when the partners applied to close it permanently.

Since then the GP surgery has been temporarily closed, as a consultation was entered into with patients and the public regarding the future of the
facility.

Residents and councillors have since claimed not every patient was aware of the developments and, therefore, the consultation was not carried out properly.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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