Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, hailed the continuation of services at Slaidburn Medical Centre as “a community triumph” upon hearing the news that East Lancashire CCG has found a new provider for a period of two years.
Following a long procurement process, the CCG announced today (3rd September) that Bowland Health Ltd will be taking over the GP contract at Slaidburn Medical Centre. Dr Amy Bonner, Medical Director of Bowland Health Ltd, has 9 years of GP experience and has previously worked as a locum in Slaidburn and Clitheroe and knows the health needs of local people.
Mr Evans held the first day of his annual Summer Surgery last week, visiting several villages including Slaidburn, Newton-in-Bowland, Tosside and Dunsop Bridge, where around 80 constituents shared their concerns about the potential closure of the practice. In the Village of Slaidburn over 40 people joined Mr Evans for a coffee morning and Q&A sessions, kindly hosted by the Hark to Bounty.
Speaking on the announcement of the new contract, Mr Evans said:
“The news of Slaidburn Medical Centre staying open is a community triumph that could not have been achieved without the dedicated and tireless work of Mike Fairbairn the Chair of Slaidburn Country Practice Patient Participation Group and all those who made representations to me, the CCG and the Department for Health.
“From meeting some of the patients last weekend and listening to their strong sentiment about the practice it seems very clear that the service is cherished by all those who use it. The service is not only a GP practice, it also provides near-instant care for a rural community where ambulances take nearly an hour to arrive – the practice gives elderly residents in the area reassurance that medical assistance is nearby.
“Last night I spoke to directly to the Prime Minister about Slaidburn Medical Centre and its continued uncertainty to ensure he understands the continued difficulties of communities like Slaidburn. I will also be inviting the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to visit Slaidburn Medical Centre to see for himself the incredible service that is provided to some of the most rural villages in Lancashire.
“Although the signing of this contract is fantastic news, I do not wish to see any diminution of service at the facility and will continue to apply pressure to the relevant bodies to ensure the long-term future of Slaidburn Medical Centre is secured.”
Mike Fairbairn Chair of Slaidburn Country Practice Patient Participation Group said:
“I was pleased to be involved in the procurement evaluation run by the CCG. It is important that the voice of the patient is heard, particularly in the case of Slaidburn Practice where people are extremely concerned about the potential loss of the service.
“The CCG has tried hard to get the best possible GP service for Slaidburn and surrounding areas. As a result of this I am optimistic for the future of Slaidburn Country Practice and look forward to supporting Dr Bonner in her leadership of the practice as well as working towards a long-term solution for maintaining the Practice as an integral part of our rural communities.”
According to the CCG, there will be a period of transition and hand over from the existing GP provider, to the new GP service and the handover will prioritise continuity for the patients. For patients registered with Slaidburn Country Practice service will run as usual and there is no need to do anything other than use the practice as they always have done.