PATIENTS have been urged to write to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to help prevent the closure of their GP practice in Accrington.
NHS England is currently reviewing the contract for the small GP surgery at Accrington Victoria Hospital, which has about 1,800 patients.
The surgery’s Patient Participation Group [PPG] fears the facility will be axed, and launched a campaign earlier this month to persuade health bosses to maintain the service.
The average GP surgery has about 6,000 patients, but NHS England insists no decision has been made. Patrick McGinley, a spokesman for the PPG, said the group has now secured an extended deadline for people to have their say, after the NHS initially asked for surveys to be returned by February 19.
He has now urged patients to make their representations to NHS England by the end of March, while also encouraging people to write to the Department of Health and local politicians. Mr McGinley said the closure of the practice would impact on other surgeries in the borough.
As it would result in its patients being ‘shared out’ among other GPs in Hyndburn.
He therefore urged patients throughout the borough to join the campaign, warning: “This would increase your already ridiculous waiting times of up to 14 days in some surgeries.”
Mr McGinley added that he wants as many people as possible to write to Mr Hunt and NHS England, as well as Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and also council leader Peter Britcliffe. NHS England said the current contract for the surgery expires in October, and the review is a standard procedure to consider how best to provide care.
The move has run alongside a seprate review by East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group into primary care in Hyndburn.
That is likely to lead to budget cuts for the Health Access Centre at the Accrington Victoria, which offers a GP walk-in service.