PLANS for two GP surgeries to stop operating from a centralised hub have been met with disdain from local residents due to the already ‘diluted service’ it provided.
A consultation period has opened to close two branch surgeries based in Roundhouse Medical Centre, based on Wakefield Road in New Lodge
Residents affected by the plans have been urged to complete the consultation by local campaigner Neil Wright.
Neil told the Chronicle: “We need to get the feedback from people because the practice needs to be aware of the upset it has caused.
“So far residents have been contacting local councillors and myself and they’re genuinely concerned.
“But people need to fill in the feedback form so their views are heard.”
NHS bosses have said there are a ‘number of advantages’ for patients who are at either surgery, including a greater range of clinical expertise, a full team of GPs, more continuity of care and increased access to the team by telephone.
A spokesperson said: “We have been experiencing difficulty in managing and sustaining the branch surgery based at Roundhouse Medical Centre along with the main surgery based at Woodland Drive Medical Centre.
“During the emergency measures through the Covid-19 pandemic we centralised all our services, to be provided from the main surgery site on a temporary basis.
”Now we would like to formalise this way of working and permanently close our branch practice.
“We believe that by centralising services, to a single site at Woodland Drive Medical Centre, we are able to offer a more flexible and efficient GP service with better access for our patients.”
A request has subsequently been made to the NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and, if the proposal is approved, patients will have two options.
“Patients who use the branch surgery can remain registered with Woodland Drive Medical Centre and have appointments with any of our health and care team,” the spokesperson added.
“All face-to-face appointments will be carried out on site at Woodland Drive Medical Centre.
“GPs will still visit patients in their own homes if they are too ill or too frail to visit the surgery.
“Patients who choose not to remain registered with the practice have a choice of re-registering at one of a number of other practices who cover the area around Roundhouse Medical Centre.”
However, Neil believes that there’s already a ‘diluted’ service at GP surgeries and residents don’t want telephone appointments.
“We need to put some pressure on it,” he added.
“People want face-to-face appointments and there’s already a diluted service even though people aren’t paying any less for it they’re not getting a reduced rate.
“I absolutely want the centre to remain open.
“We’d like to get to a place where we can express our views in hope that they change their minds.
“What we don’t want to do is create a feeling of false hope we can’t give anybody false promises.”
Wendy Lowder, NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board’s executive director of place health and adult social care in Barnsley said: “Both Woodland Drive and Burleigh Court GP practices have requested to close their branch surgery sites in the Roundhouse Medical Centre.
“Their proposals would mean that people registered with these practices would remain a patient and would use the main surgery sites for all their care and when they need to see someone in person.
“Their care would continue and people would not need to do anything. People could also choose to register with a different GP practice.
“In order for us to make a decision about the future of the branch surgeries, the two GP practices are now required to submit a proposal to us.
“We have asked the GP practices to seek views from people registered with them as well as anyone else in the local area who may have an interest.
“We’d encourage anyone registered with these practices to send in their feedback directly to their practice.
“We will review their full submission, which will include all the feedback, to help inform our decision.”