BBC Tees Radio Interview
Gary Philipson interviews a spokeswoman from Skerne Medical Group on 5th December 2018, after the news that both Trimdon Village and Fishburn doctor’s surgeries would close in early 2019.
Northen Echo article from Wednesday 5th December 2018:
PLANS to close two GP practices in rural County Durham have been branded “outrageous” by an MP.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said a proposal revealed this week by Skerne Medical Group (SMG) to shut its sites at Trimdon Village and Fishburn next year would be “devastating for the villages” and he would be seeking answers as to why.
The announcement at Durham County Council’s Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee followed a six-week consultation prompted by a “recruitment crisis” threatening the entire group, which also runs surgeries in Sedgefield and Trimdon Colliery.
At the meeting on Tuesday, Dr Stewart Findlay, chief clinical officer of Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield (DDES) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), urged support for SMG, warning there could be “catastrophic” consequences if it was forced under.
Dr Jane Hearmon, of SMG, told the meeting: “This change is not about people losing access to GPs, it’s about ensuring all our patients can get quality medical services for the longer term.”
She added while GP appointments would no longer be available at Fishburn, she added other services could continue to be run from the site, which could be used for admin purposes.
The consultation had sought opinions on whether “Trimdon Village surgery and one additional site” should be closed in 2019.
But the proposal, which will now affect 5,500 patients, has come under fire from politicians. Trimdon and Thornley county Cllr Peter Brookes told the meeting the decision was “disgraceful” and urged a rethink.
“I’m afraid it’s rubbing salt into the wound for the people of Trimdon Village,” he said. “It was bad enough for the 1,500 people in the village using that service, but now the others who travel to Fishburn will now have to travel to Trimdon Colliery or Sedgefield as well.
“I don’t know how this decision can be justified on medical grounds, how can you have people in the most deprived area having to travel the furthest for their primary care?”
His colleague Cllr Jude Grant said: “This is a truly dreadful state of affairs and I will be continuing to fight to keep these services for the residents who desperately need them.”
Reacting to the news, leader of Trimdon Parish Council, Cllr Paul Trippett, called the plans a “tremendous blow” to the communities and vowed to continue the authority’s campaign to keep and improve services in the village.
Councillors were given the option of requesting the matter be considered by the Health Secretary but they opted to allow the DDES CCG to debate it at an emergency meeting later this month.
Details of the meeting are yet to be confirmed.
Page added 5th December 2018