A POSSIBLE judicial review challenge could result if Trent Road surgery in High Crompton is closed.
That was the warning from Debbie Abrahams MP as the future of the GP’s practice was scheduled for final debate as the Correspondent went to press.
Mrs Abrahams, whose Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency includes Shaw and High Crompton, last month wrote to the body charged with making the final call on Trent Road’s future.
Oldham’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) subsequently deferred a decision on the future of the surgery on August 22.
It later emerged Mrs Abrahams’ three-page letter had been received by the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee priory to the meeting attended by residents objecting to plans.
The Parks Medical Practice has applied to the CCG to close the Trent Road branch – a surgery since 1982 – to concentrate all services at its main site at the Royton and Crompton Health and Wellbeing Centre.
If it had been approved by the committee, including Oldham Council chief executive Carolyn Wilkins, the branch would have closed on September 30.
Members were told the rationale for closure included: working across two sites is increasingly difficult; logistics of maintaining an efficient and safe service is difficult to achieve, practice budget does not allow for the effective running of two sites without compromises; only one consulting room, no ease of access to wheelchair users and no masked area or interview room to facilitate confidential conversation or privacy.
The committee also heard that the Oak Gables Medical Practice and the Village Medical Practice at Crompton Health Centre, High Street, would have capacity to take patients currently using Trent Road who didn’t want to travel into Royton centre.
However, Shaw and Crompton Parish Councillor Tracey Bland said: “After reviewing the consultation and discussions with members of the local community the overriding concern is the ability to get to Royton for an appointment/treatment.
“Almost a quarter of all residents in Crompton are over 65 years of age with a significant number of residents trying to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
“But to do this require the support of local services. An hour walk or a 30-minute wait at the bus stop while waiting for interconnecting bus services to Royton for some of the most vulnerable people in the Parish cannot be said to be “accessible.”
In her letter, Mrs Abrahams confirmed the High Crompton population has a much higher profile than the rest of Oldham “and indeed the rest of England.”
She wrote: “Given the particular characteristics of the High Crompton population who predominantly use this practice, the proximity of other surgeries and the perceived general deterioration of all local services in the Shaw and Crompton locale, I believe further consultation and analysis need to be undertaken in deciding the future provision of primary care services in Crompton.”
Mrs Abrahams states there are only 10 GPs servicing a population of more than 22,000 across Shaw and Crompton.
She added: “The point was also made that the proposal for the surgery’s closure in the context of the council’s consultations on new housing developments, where infrastructure issues, including access to health services were repeatedly raised, seems very poorly timed.”
Mrs Abrahams concluded: “I would again ask a decision on whether to close Trent Road surgery is deferred.
“Given the risk of a judicial review of a closure decision I believe this would be the most prudent way forward.”
• The Parks Medical Practice was adjudged ‘inadequate’ earlier this year by the CQC but a further inspection is scheduled for December 2019.