Jan 24 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
AROUND 600 patients will have to find a new doctor after West Lancashire Health Centre’s GP list was closed.
The decision – blamed on the service not having grown at the “envisaged rate” – was made at an NHS Lancashire PCT cluster board meeting last week, following a consultation.
It came after the West Lancashire Health Partnership, which runs the Ormskirk Hospital-based centre, wrote to Central Lancashire PCT last July requesting the registered GP service be “permanently stopped”.
NHS Central Lancashire said all patients will now be notified and supported in their transfer to other GP practices in the area.
Other services at the centre, including walk-in appointments and minor injuries services, are unaffected.
West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper said she was glad the centre would remain open as a drop-in site, but criticised the decision to close the GP list, claiming patients consulted over the issue had not been listened to.
She said: “From the outset, the whole situation surrounding the future of the GP-registered list has been handled disgracefully.
“Plans to close the GP list only came to light after I received an anonymous letter and spoke out. I was told I was wrong and it was only a temporary closure of the list.
“Within weeks, a permanent closure of the list was proposed, to which I demanded proper consultation with patients and the public. When making the final decision, the patients were consulted but clearly not listened to as those responding to the consultation wanted to remain registered with the GP at West Lancashire Health Centre.”
A spokesperson for NHS Central Lancashire, said: “The main reason we evaluated this specific service is that the GP registered list of approximately 600 patients is not growing at the envisaged rate and therefore does not allow those patients to benefit from a full range of services that would typically be offered by a GP practice.
“After careful consideration and public engagement, a decision has been reached to close and disperse the GP registered list of patients at West Lancashire Health Centre.”