Patients at a Leyland surgery are worried that the GP practice will close its doors for good following the death of its popular practitioner – something health bosses have admitted could happen.
In May, Station Surgery was shocked after well-respected GP Dr George Ahad – who founded the practice in 1988 – died aged 75.
It has since been taken over for six months by four GP’s from Park View Surgery – but patients have been worried over its long-term future.
Now the Clinical Commissioning Group for Chorley and South Ribble and Preston has admitted it could close for good – meaning its 2,771 patients would have to seek primary care elsewhere.
Lesley Croft, who lives with Parkinson’s disease, voiced his worries after being advised by the surgery he could have to commute to one of more than 10 other surgeries if it does close.
The 67-year-old said: “As someone living with Parkinson’s it would be a mobility issue for me.”
Combined with bus service problems as a result of Stagecoach scrapping the 109A service from Leyland to Chorley Hospital, which he has to regularly visit, he added: “All I’m doing is nothing but running back and forth.
“I can tumble very easily because of my condition.”
Among the replacement surgeries within the three mile area for Mr Croft are Lostock Hall Village Surgery, Medicare Unit Surgery in Lostock Hall, Preston Road Surgery in Clayton-le-Woods, Central Park Surgery in Leyland, Moss Side Medical Centre in Leyland, and Euxton Medical Centre.
“The problem we have got is it is the only surgery this end of Leyland,” said fellow patient Lois Dean.
“Whereas Leyland Surgery and Worden Medical Centre are within a storms throw of each other.
“I’ve also emailed the CCG [for clarification]. They haven’t got back to me within the three days they said they would; I’ve got read receipts turned on and it has been opened.”
Lois, who is Lesley’s niece, also raised concern for added health risks due to hundreds of new homes being built close the surgery off Wheelton Road.
"I’ve asked about the air quality,” she explained.
“The houses are all within walking distance of Station Surgery but if it’s closed they will all have to use cars or buses to get to another one.”
Praise has also been given to the temporary team currently in charge.
Lois said: “The doctors from Park View have been really nice and helpful in the whole situation.
“Patients seem to be really happy with them and like what they are doing. [But] this surgery is Dr Ahad’s legacy. It’s 30 years old, I’ve been there from the beginning.
“He didn’t care about ‘patients’, he cared about people.”
Donna Roberts, Head of Primary and Elective Care at NHS Chorley and South Ribble and Greater Preston CCGs said: “We understand that this process is unsettling for both the patients registered with Station Surgery, and the staff employed by the surgery.
“The CCG has been working closely with staff and patients to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their questions answered and share their views on the future of services.
“There are a number of possible outcomes, which range from procuring another GP practice to provide care from the existing Station Surgery premises, to dispersing the list of registered patients to other local GP practices and closing the surgery.
“Before any final decision on the future of the surgery is made, the CCG will listen to and consider all feedback.
“The Primary Care Commissioning Committee – who based upon their expertise and experience, assess and agree any proposals involving local GP services.”