03/10/07 – Doctor’s surgery facing closure
First printed in the Swindon Advertiser 3rd October 2007
INFECTION risks and a catalogue of problems at a popular Swindon doctor’s surgery could see it closed.
St Paul’s Church in Covingham has been home to a branch of the Marlborough Road surgery for more than 20 years.
But now bosses at Swindon Primary Care Trust (PCT) want to close it.
They say the building does not meet modern infection control standards, that patients have little chance of confidentiality and staff have to put up with an offensive” smell from a nearby recycling centre.
A report drawn up by officers at the PCT concludes: “We appreciate that patients hold the care offered by our staff in high regard but given the circumstances believe the proposal to close the branch surgery is in the best interests of everyone.”
Tomorrow members of Swindon Council’s health scrutiny committee will be asked if they feel health bosses have done enough public consultation on the plan.
“It is important we continue to improve the healthcare of our population and regularly reviewing buildings and the services we provide forms part of this process,” said a PCT spokeswoman.
“So we await the decision of the meeting.”
Other problems flagged up in the report include the surgery sharing consultation rooms with St Paul’s Church and structural problems with the building itself.
The report also states the only available GP wastes patient consultation time travelling between the two surgeries and that any personal examinations have to be done at Marlborough Road because of a lack of suitable space at St Paul’s.
Patients registered at St Paul’s could instead register at Marlborough Road, or sign up with doctors at Nythe Surgery in Keble Close, or at the Eldene Health Centre, the report concludes.
A PCT survey on the closure found patients were firmly against it – and that 38 per cent would have problems getting to the Marlborough Road surgery.
Coun Peter Mallinson (Con, Walcot), chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee, said: “Patients were asked if they wanted to move to another doctor and the answer was a clear no’.
“But we have to have a building that is fit for purpose and safe for a doctor to work in.
“This building is not up to that acceptable level.”
||Coun Glenn Smith (Con, Covingham and Nythe) said: “My first concern is do the neighbouring surgeries have the capacity to take new patients and how will the elderly and disabled get to the surgeries that are further away?”|
Tony Prichard has lived in Covingham for more than 30 years and has been a patient at the St Paul’s surgery since it opened in the mid-1980s.
“It will be sad when it closes because it is very convenient for us,” said Tony, who lives at nearby Poltondale.
“We have just retired and live just 500 yards or so from it.
“For us having the surgery here has been quite a good arrangement.
“The surgery in Marlborough Road is quite a walk away for us.
“It isn’t impossible for us to get there – we could walk there.
“But we are in the happy position of having our health and so can do that. Some people won’t be able to.”