Options on the table for the future of services in village

Protesters at a public meeting which was held at the start of September, following the closure of Harbottle Surgery in August.
Protesters at a public meeting which was held at the start of September, following the closure of Harbottle Surgery in August.
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Have your say

Patients are being given the chance to have their say on the future of health services in Harbottle – but an attempt to secure a GP practice provider in the village is not an option.

Since October 2015, services have been provided by the Rothbury Practice twice a week from the Harbottle site, giving patients access to GP and nursing appointments as well as services at the Rothbury site five days a week.

This interim arrangement currently in place in Harbottle was due to end on October 18, but it has been extended to November 30, until a way ahead is decided.

It comes after Harbottle Surgery was closed in August 2015 ‘in the interests of public safety’. NHS England claimed it was forced to wield the axe after Dr Rina Miah took the sudden decision not to continue with her contract and was unable to provide GP cover for the surgery.

Following public outcry, the interim arrangement which is currently in place was put into action.

Now, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (NCCG) is working with NHS England to seek the views of patients on the available options. These are:

l An existing general practice surgery in Northumberland providing a branch surgery in Harbottle;

l A variety of existing general practice surgeries providing outreach clinics on a sessional basis in Harbottle;

l Patients asked to re-register with another practice.

The NCCG has said it is not possible to look at securing a GP practice provider in Harbottle, because it is believed that there would now be a very small practice list. It says that experience of recent previous procurements has shown that smaller lists are less likely to attract bidders, adding that it would not be sustainable.

To give your feedback, drop-in to an information session at The Star Inn, Harbottle. These take place next Wednesday and then Thursday, September 8, both 2pm to 7.30pm. Or visit www.surveymon key.co.uk/r/FPHQJKC