1,000 sign petition to save Slaidburn doctors’ surgery

The medical team at Slaidburn Health Centre fight to save the surgery. Pictured from the left are Linda Blakeman, Kath Webster, Kaye Howard, Dr. Karen Massey.
The medical team at Slaidburn Health Centre fight to save the surgery. Pictured from the left are Linda Blakeman, Kath Webster, Kaye Howard, Dr. Karen Massey.
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A petition backing the fight to save a Ribble Valley rural health centre has already been signed by more than 1,000 people.

Councillors and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans are also supporting the campaign to save Slaidburn Country Practice.

Mr Evans met Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to discuss the proposed phased withdrawal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee over seven years from 2014.

“Rurality is an issue that should not be ignored. Our communities have seen schools close and we do not want to see our doctors’ surgeries go the same way,” said Mr Evans.

This meeting followed a well-attended public meeting at Newton Village Hall, at which residents raised concerns they may have to travel to Clitheroe for health care.

They argued that both children and the elderly would find this journey difficult, especially crossing Waddington Fell in winter.

The meeting resolved to appoint a steering group, chaired by Ribble Valley borough councillor Rosie Elms, to campaign to save the surgery and press for special funding for the 100 surgeries nationwide most affected by the changes.

Coun. Elms, who raised the issue at Thursday’s meeting of the full borough council, said: “We’ll be lobbying the Government for other funding and highlighting that we are a unique rural practice and rurality should be considered.”

The chairman of the borough council’s health and housing committee, Coun. Bridget Hilton, has also vowed to take the issue to Lancashire Health and Housing Board and, backed by County Coun. David Smith, approach Lancashire County Council to press for its support.

Vice-chairman Coun. Ken Hind, who is a patient of the practice, undertook to move a motion at the next health and housing committee of the borough council to support the push to save the surgery.

“We need to recognise we cannot alter the Government’s mind on withdrawal of the MPIG nationally in their change of funding formula, but we can make a special case and combine with those 100 surgeries up and down the country who face the same problem to make a case for small increases.”