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Hightown surgery under threat of closure

“With Hightown surgery under threat of closure and others struggling to take extra patients, the Prime Minister has a nerve criticising GPs,” says Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson.

Prime Minister, Theresa May has criticised GPs and said they should open longer to help at A&E, but NHS England is responsible for the arrangements on behalf of the government and is in the middle of a consultation on the future of Hightown. The plans to close Hightown follow the experience of the closure of a surgery in Maghull, which led to the problems at another surgery there, which struggled to take extra patients from the surgery which had closed.

Meanwhile, Hightown residents have approached NHS England and have also asked MP, Bill Esterson about the problem.

Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson said,

“We all know that it can take far too long to get a GP appointment and the difficulty to get an appointment is one of the reasons people go to A&E.

“The problem is that in Sefton Central, Theresa May’s government is threatening the closure of Hightown surgery. The government has already closed the surgery at Parkhaven and this has led to pressure at High Pastures in Maghull, which has had to close its list to new patients. Meantime, the Melling surgery is only open part time. In each part of my constituency, it is quite clear that GPs are working flat out and that the arrangements put in place by the Conservatives through NHS England mean that GPs, just like A&E, are under pressure. Fundamentally, there are not enough GPs to do what the Prime Minister says she wants to do and the government has not been recruiting or training enough for the last 7 years.

“The Conservatives have been promising a 7 day GP service since 2010 but have closed walk in centres and made it more difficult to get an appointment. We don't need more broken promises. We need a proper plan and an end to scape goating of doctors and other NHS staff. Theresa May is also ignoring the big crisis in social care. She has refused Labour pleas for extra social care money to be brought forward. And Mrs May’s response has been to tell us all that’s happening is a 'small number of incidents where unacceptable practices have taken place' - In other words, she is in denial about what is happening on the ground, including in Hightown, Melling and Maghull.”

Karl Brennan, who lives in Hightown said, “The Prime Minister has suggested that increased access to GP services is a key issue in resolving the current A&E crisis and wants GP access hours increased to 8.00am - 8.00pm seven days a week and has threatened to cut financial support to GP Practices that do not increase their hours unless they can prove there is no demand.

I find this approach very hard to reconcile with what is currently going on in Hightown, where the community are presently campaigning vigorously to save their GP practice from potential closure. If government policy is based on increasing GP access to save the NHS why is Hightown under threat of closure?”

Bill Esterson MP said, “It is clear from the experience in Maghull and Melling and from what is now happening in Hightown that calls from the Prime Minister, Theresa May are far fetched and they are a smokescreen to hide the Conservatives’ failure to invest in social care or to recruit and train new GPs over the last 7 years.”

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