RESIDENTS OPPOSED TO BRIDGFORD MEGA SURGERY
The proposal by five GP surgeries in West Bridgford to merge and move to a large new building on Wilford Lane, at some distance from the main residential areas, has proved controversial. Opponents of the scheme that affects some 30,000 patients are concerned not only about the extra journeys involved by the choice of site, but also about the limited scope of public involvement so far.
Feedback on the consultation exercise, which attracted over 3,000 responses, is yet to be revealed, but it is thought most are against the scheme. Results from a smaller questionnaire, carried out by local Lib Dem councillors in December 2011 in the Musters Ward, showed that 69% of responses were against the proposal, with 21.5 % as don’t knows and only 9.5% in favour. It also indicates that there is support for the option of a smaller merger of two or possibly three surgeries, enabling the purchase of a more central site.
The main issue emerging was the highly inconvenient location of the proposed new site for those patients without access to a car. It seems awkward to reach by all modes of travel, especially on foot and by bus, from most parts of central Bridgford.
Opponents argue that the difficulty of the journey by foot, cycle or bus will prove as critical as the extra distance, since there is a complex road junction plus two busy main roads to negotiate and, for bus users, two routes are involved. This may deter some patients altogether and they may opt to move to a more convenient surgery which they can reach in greater safety.
Patients are also questioning the value of the additional locally-based services that the PCT claims will be accommodated at Wilford Lane. Almost all of these additional services (such as physiotherapy and phlebotomy) are currently available either at the five surgeries, or at the modern West Bridgford Health Centre on Musters Road.
The feedback so far indicates that many Bridgford patients feel that the overall costs of accessing the new surgery will outweigh the supposed benefits. They see a consultation process which was flawed because only one option was offered, and no early public meetings were held to explain proposals and gauge reactions fully. The building is already part-designed and a planning application close to submission.
Jake Jackson is recently retired and would like to see a more accessible surgery than that proposed. Speaking as a patient of the Trent Bridge practice, he said: “The message to our GPs and the PCT is please think again. Thousands of people in West Bridgford will be adversely affected by this proposal, both current and future generations. Car travel will only get more costly and difficult in the future, especially for the elderly and
under -25s. It seems to me that proper consultation needs good and timely feedback. At present, patient views are coming second-best. The PCT and the GPs should come clean and present the full picture well in advance of any final decision. Then they should be prepared to change their plans significantly and not merely try to tinker with local bus routes.
“I fear that the PCT Board’s judgement will be clouded by its emphasis upon the business case for the project. The economies of scale for the GPs should not be more important that patients’ travel issues and the need for a healthy, less car dependent environment.”
Jake is keen to hear from others who support the stance against the merger and is willing to make representations to the PCT Board and/or their local doctor. Call 0115 981 6036 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.