The MP and Assembly Member for Wrexham have jointly written to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to say they feel that ‘under no circumstances should Gresford be left with no general practice surgery based in the village’.
The letter, written by Ian Lucas MP and Lesley Griffiths AM, comes after Alyn Family Doctors announced it would be applying to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to consider its proposal to close services at Gresford Health Centre.
Alyn Family Doctors, which also operates surgeries in Llay and Rossett, explained that “after considering a number of different options, we have not been able to come up with a viable alternative arrangement that would enable us to improve the situation and provide a safe and appropriate standard of care in Gresford.”
As a result the GP services in Gresford Health Centre would transfer to the other two sites in Llay and Rossett.
A consultation was launched by the Practice and Wrexham’s AM and MP wrote to thousands of local residents encouraging people to offer their views on the matter. All feedback gathered will be presented to the local Health Board’s Primary Care Panel on 2nd July 2018.
Now Mr Lucas and Ms Griffiths have written a joint letter to the health board’s chief executive, highlighting the geographical and logistical impracticalities of transferring a service from Gresford to Llay and Rossett and the ‘clear flaws in reducing a service when demand is increasing’, and also points tBCUHB to consider submitting a bid for a share of additional Welsh Government funding recently announced.
Whilst the Practice has not yet submitted a formal application to withdraw services, a letter from Vaughan Gething AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services, in response to concerns raised by Lesley Griffiths AM, states the Health Board is expecting the application. Wrexham’s AM and MP have urged the Health Board to take the necessary steps to ensure the continuity of services in Gresford following the formal application.
The letter from the Cabinet Secretary also highlights what funding has been allocated to the Practice and opportunities for future investment. In 2012, an application for an improvement grant at Llay Health Centre for internal alterations and refurbishment was approved, the works received a capital grant of over £35,500 from Welsh Government.
A £68m plan to deliver 19 new integrated health and care centres across Wales by 2021 was recently announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services, and the local representatives are trying to discover if the Health Board are looking for a share of this additional funding.
Ms Griffiths said: “Having contacted Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services on this matter, I am grateful for their respective responses and the additional information I have received.
“Whether services are provided by Alyn Family Doctors or an alternative practice, I firmly believe a GP surgery should remain in the village.
“Welsh Government funding could be available to improve health centres and as Gresford is a popular and expanding part of Wrexham, it appears suitable for future investment and should be considered accordingly.”
“Ultimately, it is the Health Board’s responsibility to ensure every resident has access to a GP and funding for this is provided by the Welsh Government.
“However, as I have previously highlighted, it is important to remember that GPs are self‑employed and independent contractors who, unfortunately, cannot be told what to do when they want to allocate or move their services in a particular way.”
Ian Lucas MP added: “The prospect of Gresford not having a GPs’ surgery is, quite simply, unacceptable. We cannot countenance a situation where such an important public facility will be closed.
“If the GPs that are operating in Gresford now do not want to provide services, then the Health Board should be looking for other GPs to provide a service there.
“Access to the surgery in Llay is extremely difficult for elderly people in Gresford due to a lack of public transport connections, and the Rossett facility is inadequate in terms of its size.
“We have to make sure a GPs’ practice is retained in such an important part of Wrexham. It’s what we pay our taxes for and why we value our NHS so highly.”