Proposals have been approved to close the GP surgery in the Lincoln village of Skellingthorpe.
Skellingthorpe Health Centre on Lincoln Road is run by The Glebe Practice group, which also has a branch in Saxilby and looks after a combined total of over 8,000 patients.
The GP partners of The Glebe Practice approached NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in May to propose the closure of the Skellingthorpe branch.
As previously reported, the health centre was set to reduce its hours to just half a day three days a week from October 1, 2019 after senior doctors set out plans for the service’s closure.
The proposals were recently approved at the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee meeting where members were presented with findings from the public consultation.
However, no date has been agreed for the closure of the surgery. The advice to patients is to continue to access appointments as normal.
Lincoln’s Labour MP Karen Lee previously said she was opposed to the closure of the surgery and she set up a petition to try and keep it open, which gained over 400 signatures.
Dr Catherine Ash, GP partner at The Glebe Practice, said: “I’ve been a GP at the practice for nearly 25 years and patients who know me know how committed I am to ensuring they have access to good quality services.
“For the majority of the time I’ve been at the practice we’ve been very fortunate to have had several long serving GPs working at the practice like myself.
“Sadly in recent times we’ve had several GPs leave and each year it becomes increasingly difficult to replace them. This has made providing services to patients across two premises a real challenge.
“Our proposals have always been about ensuring the long term future of our practice so that we can continue to treat patients from all the villages we serve for generations to come.
“In the future all services will be provided from our main site at Saxilby in our purpose built building where patients can access a much wider range of health care services. We are grateful to the CCG for agreeing to our proposals so we can now start planning for the changes ahead.”
During the consultation residents had queried whether relocating the surgery to alternative premises in the village was an option or for a neighbouring GP practice to take it over.
Sarah-Jane Mills, Chief Operating Officer at Lincolnshire West CCG, said: “We know that transport from Skellingthorpe to Saxilby is going to be difficult for a number of patients and we will support the residents and parish council in the village to find a solution to this. Frail housebound patients will continue to receive home visits as per the current protocol.
“We’ve also spoken to the Co-op who has said residents of Skellingthorpe can continue to access the pharmacy in the village as normal to collect prescription and get advice and treatment for minor health concerns.
“Whilst we could look to address the issues regarding the premises it still wouldn’t solve the issue of being able to provide adequate staffing at the site.
“The GP partners have been clear that they will be in a much more stable position if they are providing services from one premises instead of two, and that Saxilby is the more suitable building.
“We had spoken to a number of neighbouring GP practices but none were prepared to take over the running of Skellingthorpe Surgery.”
She added that future plans for healthcare would see patients accessing services in a different way, including face-to-face consultations with their GP via a video screen over the internet.