Northumberland village surgery earmarked for closure

Residents in Longhoughton have expressed dismay at the proposed closure of the village surgery.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 10:50 am

The surgery has been closed on a temporary basis during the Covid pandemic but Alnwick Medical Group (AMG) has informed patients of its plans to make the move permanent.

A statement on its website explains: “Our clinical services have had to reduce over the past 15 months due to Covid-19 and our GP services at Longhoughton have been delivered by the Alnwick Medical Group team at our other sites.

"We are now facing further challenges with Longhoughton surgery and as a result are planning the permanent closure of the branch and relocation of the dispensary."

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Longhoughton Surgery.

AMG says the current premises and dispensary ‘are becoming increasingly unfit for purpose’, lack disabled access and its rental agreement with the RAF does not allow it to make any changes to the property to make it more suitable.

It says several attempts to relocate have been made over the past decade but no alternative premises were successfully identified.

"The health and safety of our staff and patients is paramount, and for this reason, the team at AMG propose to close the site in Longhoughton permanently and consolidate their overall service,” the statement continues.

“All services would be fulfilled at either the sites in Alnwick or Embleton and the practice will continue to dispense to Longhoughton patients through the delivery service set up during the pandemic.”

A 12 week period of public engagement has now begun, after which an application will be made to the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England for approval.

But Longhoughton resident Joan Ford said: “It’s dreadful. The surgery has been closed because of Covid but we were promised it would be a temporary measure.

"I don’t really understand it either because the village has grown considerably in recent years. Then there are the difficulties of getting to Alnwick or Embleton if you don’t drive.

"I know they have their reasons for doing it but even if they operated out of the village once a week it would be something.

"I don’t think they are going about it the right way. To be told by a text message was very disappointing.”

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