PATIENTS are to be asked if they want to stay at a medical centre which is threatened with closure.

Fears Deeside Medical Centre in Shotton could close have been raised by community leaders and patients as Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board refuses to rule out the closure of the site.

But the health board is now asking patients for their views and said they will be “considered” in the decision making process.

Shotton councillor Ann Minshull said the move was a step in the right direction and urged the health board to listen to patients.

She said: “The health board is going to put a form out to all the patients to ask them whether they wish to remain in Shotton.

“I am pleased they are doing this. If the patients want to remain there, they should remain there. This is a step in the right direction.

“At the end of the day it is the patients who know what they want, it is not for anybody else to decide.

“If the overwhelming majority want to stay I would like it to remain.”

The centre looks after more than 5,800 patients and a petition has been launched after concern the centre could shut if no suitable doctors were found to take over the practice.

Cllr Minshull said: “The patients who use the centre come from Garden City and Hawarden and some come from Connah’s Quay because they are happy with the service.

“If it closes, people are going to have to travel further.”

Sealand councillor Christine Jones added: “I cannot see the patients saying they do not want to stay. I am sure they are going to want to stay put.

“They have to listen to patients - this is the right way of doing it.”

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “Following interviews in November 2010, the health board has yet to make a final decision regarding the future of the Deeside Medical Centre.

“Due to a possible location move, we intend to engage with patients and the Community Health Council to better understand their views with regard to the location of the surgery.

“Letters to patients will go out in the next week.

“The response from patients and the community council will be considered in the decision-making process, alongside other information gathered from the applicants during the interviews.