Labour candidates present petition on closure of Bishopston Medical Practice to Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group

After many years serving the local community, the Bishopston Medical Practice was closed on 30th September with patients being encouraged to register at another practice.

Your local Labour Party candidates for Bishopston & Ashley Down, Darran McLaughlin and Eileen Means, have joined Cllr Tom Brook and Thangam Debbonaire in campaigning on this important local issue.

The Bishopston & Ashley Down Labour team held a street stall and distributed leaflets to inform local people. We also organised a petition to inform the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of our concerns.

Over 10,000 patients were registered with the Bishopston Medical Practice, and residents were understandably very anxious – not only patients directly affected (who had to register with GPs elsewhere), but also patients from other practices concerned about the possible impact on them. We were told that people were queuing outside the doors to register at the alternative surgeries. Existing patients of the Gloucester Road Surgery, for instance, were concerned at the extra workload on an already busy practice and the possible impact on the appointments system; “It’s bound to take longer to get to see my GP.” one said.

Our petition attracted over 150 signatures, and Eileen Means attended the CCG meeting on 24th September to present the petition. She made a speech highlighting concerns raised in the petition to the committee, which was warmly received. In conclusion, Eileen pointed out that ‘winter is coming’ and that we would like reassurance that Primary Care services to Bishopston patients will not deteriorate.

The petition was worded as follows: “We the undersigned are concerned about the decision to close the Bishopston Medical Practice on 30th September. The five alternative practices being suggested are Horfield, Monks Park, Fallodon Way, Gloucester Road and Montpelier. However, there may not be room at these surgeries and this could leave many residents without access to a truly local GP service. The loss of the Nevil Road surgery could affect elderly residents and those with limited mobility and transport. It may also put increasing pressure on the other GP surgeries in Montpelier, Horfield and Ashley Down. We call on Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (CCG) and NHS England to take all necessary steps to enable existing patients to retain permanent access to a local GP surgery.”

The initial response to Eileen’s statement was as follows: the pre-closure engagement work with patients, including the drop-in sessions arranged by the CCG, illustrated the following;

  • Travel impact; 44% of patients will have a shorter travel distance to their new surgery than to Bishopston
  • Resilience of other GP Practices; patient funding will transfer with each patient, therefore they will receive increased financial support.
  • The CCG are confident that they can ensure that patients will receive good quality primary care
  • The emotional impact of patients changing GPs is recognised and will be taken into account

The full response, alongside details of the petition will be placed on the CCG website. It was also noted at the subsequent Governing body meeting on 1st October that the CCG received this petition.

The local Labour party, including candidates Eileen Means and Darran McLaughlin, Cllr Tom Brook and Thangam Debbonaire MP will now continue to engage with local residents to monitor satisfaction levels with the service provided, particularly with winter coming, and will continue to push the CCG to provide a good service to local residents.

Cllr Tom Brook, plus local Labour candidates Eileen Means and Darran McLaughlin with our petition
Cllr Tom Brook, plus local Labour candidates Eileen Means and Darran McLaughlin with our petition
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