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Gresford surgery closure plan: “We were not lying to Patients or Councillors”

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 25th, 2018.

A near 1000 word statement has been issued by Alyn Family Doctors defending and explaining their plan to ‘transfer GP services’ from Gresford Health Centre to Rossett Surgery and Llay Health Centre.

Cllr Atkinson circulated the below message saying: “I’ve received the information below from Alyn Family Doctors today and had confirmation it’s can be shared publicly.”

Previously Cllr Atkinson had said he was ‘very angry and extremely disappointed at the handling of this’, slating the manner of communications.

The full statement attributed to the Alyn Family Doctors is copied below…

“We have given this information to the Councillors following initial queries raised, and will happily try to answer any outstanding issues that arise during the engagement process.

“This was not a decision that we came to lightly. We have made changes over the last few years to try to sustain the practice in its current model, but unfortunately it has not made enough of an impact.

“Firstly regarding the concerns with our communication to the practice patients. We have worked very hard to try to keep the three surgeries open. Up until the final decision was made to apply for consideration of closure, we had not made a definite decision on this. We were not lying to Patients or Councillors, we could not inform anyone of the decision until we were aware of it ourselves and how we went about the process in the correct way. Letters are naturally being sent out to all of our Patients to inform them of the changes. This is something that is undertaken by the health board as it is a big task. It is unfortunate that posters had to be put out first but it was felt that at this point we could not lie to anyone if we were asked about rumours going round.

“We have for many years been campaigning to have a purpose built Health Centre for the 3 villages, similar to the health centres in Chirk, Hope and Llangollen. Disappointedly there is no funding available for this from the health board or the Welsh Government. The practice is not considered to be a priority and unfortunately this is out of our hands. This would obviously be the ideal option.

“Actual surgeries are only one part of our day, a lot of the other time is taken up with paperwork, prescriptions, telephone queries and home visits. With amalgamating the practice over 2 sites this will mean the workload can be shared out evenly between the GPs. Although the records are computerised a lot of work comes through in paper form which then has to be dealt with at each site. At present we have a lot of lone GP working which in terms of workload is unsafe.

“We currently offer 885 appointments a week over the three sites when all of our GPs are in, which we have increased over the last few years. With the proposal this number will remain the same. Llay and Rossett patients will not have to ‘share’ their appointments with Gresford patients, nor will our Gresford patients lose any appointments. We will not be losing any members of staff with the proposed closure. With more GPs around to share out the other workload we will be able to offer more flexible appointments, with some Doctors starting earlier and also offering later appointments.

“In order to facilitate this change we are proposing to utilise two further consulting rooms in Llay. These are rooms that are currently used by health visitors and district nurses. They would be having more space at Gresford Surgery. At times we will also be able to have 3 GPs running surgeries from Rossett surgery. Both Llay and Rossett surgeries would be open 5 days a week, without any afternoon closures. There would still be Nurse appointment’s available in both sites.

“There would naturally be an improvement to the phone service with a centralised appointment booking system covering the three villages. This will have a queuing system, to try to avoid patients having to recall.

“Now to the point why we propose to keep Llay and Rossett surgeries open and close the Gresford branch. In order to have more rooms in Llay, as mentioned, we will have to utilise some Health Board rooms. This has meant that some of the space in Gresford will need to be given to the District Nurses to use. In Rossett as well as housing the consulting rooms downstairs there are a lot of administration rooms upstairs. There would not be space in the building at Gresford to house all of the trust staff, and all clinical and administration staff from Rossett. The District Nurses and Health Visitor team are not employed by or part of Alyn Family Doctors, they will remain in the Gresford health centre as their base and their services not altered.

“With regards to parking. In Llay there is now a larger car park that both the surgery and the school can use. We would aim to make more disabled spaces in front of the surgery. There is a public car park in Rossett available for Patients. We will make enquiries about provision of disabled spaces outside the surgery. There is not a direct bus route between Llay and Gresford, although there is a regular bus route from Gresford to Rossett.

“Disabled access is available at both Llay and Rossett.

“There is a high proportion of elderly patients in Gresford, this is where we have the higher number of home visits. We will still be performing home visits in the area as we always have done for our housebound patients.

“We are in discussion with the chemist in Gresford to organise a prescription drop off and collection service so that you wouldn’t have to travel to drop off your prescriptions. There would not be a risk of the chemist closing as part of this proposal. Hopefully in the future there will also be the option for online prescription requests.

“These proposals are to make the Practice sustainable with the current workload. We are aware of the building projects in hand and have discussed these with the health board, which still has not impacted our position in terms of funding for a new health centre.

“We hope that this has answered some of the initial concerns, we are aware that there will be further questions through the engagement process which we will deem to answer.”

Cllr Atkinson told us : “I’m grateful to Alyn Family Doctors for providing this information and taking the time to respond to some of the main questions raised by my residents.”

A consultation process until May 14th 2018 is now underway, with patients urged to have their say.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to ‘save Gresford Doctors Surgery and associated services from closure’, which is at 667 names at the time of writing.

Residents can respond to the consultation as follows:

– Complete a feedback form available in all Alyn Family Doctors surgeries and hand deliver
– Post feedback to the surgery for attention of Sue Roberts, Practice Manager
– Email views to BCU.WrexhamGPServices@wales.nhs.uk

Alternatively, people can contact the independent Community Health Council in confidence as follows:

Email: Carol.Williams@waleschc.org.uk
Address: Mrs Carol Williams, North Wales Community Health Council, 11 Llys Castan, Ffordd Y Parc, Parc Menai, Bangor, LL57 4FH
Telephone: 01248 679284 (Ext. 3)

If Gresford or Marford residents would like more information or wish to get involved in the campaign they are encouraged to contact the two councillors.

You can sign the petition to ‘Save Gresford Doctors Surgery and associated services from closure’ here.

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