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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Campaigners meet health minister to keep open Cumbria surgeries

THE CAMPAIGN to keep two Cumbria surgeries open reached a key milestone when a local MP and residents met with a health minister in London yesterday.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, met with Earl Howe to push for his help in keeping Hawkshead and Coniston surgeries open.

Mr Farron has pressed for a meeting since learning both surgeries are among those that might face closure.

The surgeries are among the smallest in the country in terms of registered patients, but closure would force some residents to make long trips, including a ferry journey, for check-ups.

Mr Farron pushed for extra funding at the meeting in the Department of Health.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “When we asked (Earl Howe) for his support to keep the two surgeries open, it wasn’t a straightforward ‘yes’, but it was far from a ‘sorry, no’, and the minister seemed very sympathetic to our arguments. He agreed it’s far from reasonable to expect local folk to have to take a ferry ride just to see their GP.

“I am very optimistic that we can work with the minister to keep our surgeries open.”

Also present at Tuesday’s meeting was Dr David Geddes, national NHS primary care commissioning head, who said he would visit the two surgeries.

Two constituents, Rob Gee and Andrew Pow, also attended the meeting.

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