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Friday, 29 May 2015

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Millom residents voice surgery worries

A HEALTH meeting was disrupted when residents raised fears over the future of their doctors’ surgery.

Better Care Together, a review of NHS organisations across South Cumbria and Lancashire, came to Millom on Friday to get the public’s input on the future of their health services.

The meeting’s intended focus was out-of-hospital care but, like the recent Clinical Commissioning Group drop-in meeting held in Market Square on March 4, many used the opportunity to voice their concerns over the imminent closure of the local doctors’ surgery.

It was announced in February that Waterloo House Practice, in Wellington Street, would move into Millom Hospital at the beginning of April due to health and safety concerns.

Led by engagement officers Sophy Stewart and Tom Wilcox, the meeting used different approaches to assess the views of the community, including an introductory presentation and two exercises.

The first of the exercises was for those in attendance to examine and discuss alternative options for out of hospital care. The second involved ranking health services on a scale of importance to the individual.

It was Millom’s deputy mayor Felicity Wilson who first brought up the issue of Waterloo House Practice.

She said: “There was a great chance missed by the NHS in communicating the move of the surgery to the people of Millom.

“This issue is still very much on people’s minds. Something needs to be done to let people know what the future holds.”

Millom residents attending the meeting then joined the discussion, citing geographical isolation and lack of communication as some of their primary concerns.

Most were angry and upset about the lack of information they were offered regarding the surgery’s move, and still felt in the dark about its future.

Dr Geoff Jolliffe, lead GP for Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, urged local people to focus on the matter of out-of-hospital care and not the surgery.

He said: “The changes to the surgery may seem very immediate and very big. My advice is that the changes meant for discussion in this meeting are much more significant. I believe the Millom surgery situation will be resolved very nicely for all of you, both in the short term and the long term.”

Better Care Together is led by Cumbria CCG, Lancashire North CCG, and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. Following the meeting they hope to raise any proposals brought up at the drop-ins during the summer.

Similar meetings were also held in Lancaster, Kendal, Barrow and Morecambe. Meetings were due to be held in Ulverston today at the Coronation Hall, between 10am and 12.30pm, and between 2.30pm and 5pm.


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