Formby MP, Bill Esterson has given his support to a campaign to keep Freshfield GP surgery open. The campaign has a petition which is online www.change.org/p/freshfield-surgery-is-under-threat or can be signed in Ryder’s Chemists, next to the surgery.
Patients at Freshfield GP surgery received a letter from NHS England Director of Commissioning, Anthony Leo, which stated that “the contract with the current provider has been extended to 31 December 2017, to ensure continuity of care while we put new, longer-term arrangements in place.”
The surgery is being run by Chapel Lane surgery and Formby’s Labour MP, Bill Esterson said he shared the concerns of patients that closure of Freshfield surgery would just add to the existing difficulties in booking an appointment.
Bill Esterson MP said, “Patients are telling me that they really value the care they receive at Freshfield and that the surgery does a good job. But they also say that it can be very difficult to book an early appointment. Formby Labour Action Team is supporting the campaign to keep Freshfield open because we know that the closure would just add to the pressure on other surgeries. There have been problems with the GP surgery contracts which saw some patients leave. But patient numbers appear to have stabilised, so it would seem unwise for patients if NHS England were to close Freshfield or Hightown surgeries, both of which are under review.
Ryder’s Chemists is next door to Freshfield GP surgery and pharmacist, Martin Hough asked Bill Esterson MP to support the campaign. Mr Hough said, “I am concerned about the impact on patients if the surgery were to close. It is difficult for surgery staff to speak out, so I felt I had to help organise the campaign, which is why we are running the petition to stop the closure.”
Pharmacies also face a significant funding cut by the government and Mr Hough added, “The cut to our funding is also a big worry and we face the potential double whammy as a business of losing both the surgery and our funding.”
Bill Esterson MP said, “I am very glad that Martin Hough approached me about the petition to prevent the closure of Freshfield GP surgery. Formby residents need both GP surgeries and pharmacies to have full support from the government, yet at present there are real worries for the future of both.
“Pharmacies face significant cuts to their budgets from this government. There is also a national shortage of GPs and the government since 2010 under the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems has not trained enough doctors. Hopefully, that lesson has been learned but for now, patients in Formby need the existing surgeries and in future years, the population is set to grow anyway, thanks to a relaxation of the planning rules by the same government. Staff in our NHS do an excellent job but they need NHS England and the government to give them full backing.
“The Formby Labour Action Team and I will do all we can to support the campaign to keep Freshfield GP Practice open and to support our local pharmacies as well.”
In photograph Formby Labour MP, Bill Esterson with
Martin Hough and Sue Miller from Ryder’s chemist.