300 at public meeting to save Slaidburn health centre

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans with save Slaidburn Country Practice campaigners. (s)
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans with save Slaidburn Country Practice campaigners. (s)

A public meeting held as part of the campaign to save Slaidburn Country Practice from possible closure was attended by more than 300 patients.

Staged in Newton Village Hall, proposed changes to the way general practice is funded – mainly the phased withdrawal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) – was the main topic of discussion and how this could lead to the practice’s closure.

Representatives of the parish and borough councils, the local area team of NHS England, and the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group also attended.

Slaidburn Country Practice’s Dr Karen Massey explained how the practice is funded and its main expenses. Dorothy Pearson, chairman of the Friends of Slaidburn Country Practice, describing the practice as “the beating heart of the Valley”, spoke about how important it is to have immediate and emergency treatment available locally.

Donna Roberts, of the local area team of NHS England, said it is aware of the situation in Slaidburn and had raised the issue nationally, but as yet haven’t had a response. It was decided to lobby the Government to recognise rurality as requiring additional funding.

Strategy and implementation groups were formed to take forward the campaign and patients, members of the strategy group and representatives from the health centre met with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans on Saturday to discuss the future funding of the practice. Mr Evans pledged his support for the campaign and will be raising the issue with Health Minister Jeremy Hunt.

A paper petition can be found in local shops and businesses as well as at the health centre. Alternatively sign the petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51875