Trust goes nationwide to find GP replacement

THE fight to save a doctor s surgery from closure continues. The surgery in St Neots Road, Sandy, has been under threat since the sudden death of Dr Kris Reddy in February. A campaign to keep the surgery open sparked an avalanche of support from patients

THE fight to save a doctor's surgery from closure continues.

The surgery in St Neots Road, Sandy, has been under threat since the sudden death of Dr Kris Reddy in February.

A campaign to keep the surgery open sparked an avalanche of support from patients and a petition was handed to Bedfordshire Heartlands NHS Primary Care Trust containing over 1,700 signatures.

Two weeks ago the PCT rejected two business plans from two other practices in Sandy to take over the surgery.

Now the Trust is advertising nationwide to try and find a replacement for the late Dr Reddy even though the current physician running the surgery, Dr Raypreet Bharti, has said she is prepared to take it over.

Dr Bharti has already put in her own business plan which was not even considered by the PCT.

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The PCT claimed the plan had been submitted too late for consideration even though Gerald Wells, the St Neots Road surgery manager, said there had been no time limit on submissions.

"Dr Bharti is going to fight to stay here. We want her and so do the patients," said Mr Wells.

"She is coping very well with the help of another doctor on a Wednesday and nobody is complaining.

"We just hope the door will not be opened to the other two surgeries in Sandy to apply again with a revised business plan after they have been told why they were turned down in the first place by the PCT."

Mr Wells said the public reaction to the possibility of the surgery closing may have forced the PCT to think again over the surgery's future.

"The public response made them sit back and look at the whole thing in a different light," added Mr Wells.

"We haven't given up the fight to stay open. We are even looking at ways to expand the surgery. We have planning permission to extend the building but would prefer to find newer and bigger premises so we are actively looking for a property now."

Explaining why the PCT was casting its net much wider, the PCT deputy director of primary care Carol Madden said: "As we have done in the past, we first tried to find a local solution, but this has not proved possible.

"We are now opening up the process more widely to GP practices and other providers of primary medical services nationally.

"This will also enable the GP locum currently providing cover at the surgery to have her plans considered.

"There are many things we have to consider such as the services that will be provided, value for money, staffing capacity and suitability of the premises. Equally important are the views of the patients and we will continue to listen to them.

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