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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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UPDATE: Cumbria campaigners meet health secretary to fight rural surgery closures

CAMPAIGNERS trying to protect rural GP practices in Cumbria have met Jeremy Hunt as they bid to keep open surgeries.

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Jeremy Hunt

A delegation opposing changes to the way GPs are funded met the health secretary to discuss their fears for local services.

Doctors in Coniston and Hawkshead believe the changes to the minimum practice income guarantee may force their practices to close.

Councillor John Blackie, a member of North Yorkshire County Council, who led the delegation, said Mr Hunt “readily accepted” that rural surgeries may be badly affected.

The meeting was attended by South Lakes MP, Tim Farron, who is lobbying to keep the surgeries open in Cumbria.

Mr Farron said: "In rural areas like ours the GP practice is the home for many vital health services and clinics. In the last few years we have worked hard to make sure investment goes into these centres and together we have made a big difference.

"This shift to move healthcare into our communities has paid massive dividends and I am worried that these funding changes would put that at risk.

"I am pleased that senior ministers are listening to our case and I will keep pushing them and NHS England to reconsider these damaging policies and ease the pressure that vital GP surgeries are facing."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We know that rural practices form a vital role in communities they serve.

“We are currently working with NHS England to consider how best to manage the impact of changes to the MPIG in rural areas.”

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