Penmaenmawr surgery under threat

Reporter:

Allan George

A GPs’ surgery in Penmaenmawr is threatened with closure.

Partners responsible for Plas Menai GP Practice, based in Llanfairfechan, have applied to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to close its other branch surgery in Penmaenmawr blaming difficulties in maintaining safety and service levels.

 

A Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board spokesperson said: “The GP Partners have found it increasingly difficult to sustain safe and high quality services on two sites.

“The Practice has already met representatives of the Health Board, the Community Health Council, and both Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan Town Councils to discuss their concerns. They will also meet patients and local councillors to look for solutions which will, in the long term, contribute to the sustainability of the practice.”

Subject to the Primary Care Panel approving the application to close the branch at Penmaenmawr, patients would remain registered with the Plas Menai Practice, and will be able to use services at Llanfairfechan. The practice will be contacting patients shortly to discuss the proposed changes.

This GP Practice is an independent contractor, and responsible for managing its workforce, however, the health board appreciates the national difficulties in recruiting GPs, which is not just specific to North Wales.

Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon, Sian Gwenllian said: "This is very worrying news for the residents of Penmaenmawr who rely on Llys Meddyg surgery for their care.

"Sadly it is the latest in a string of surgery closures across North Wales this year due to a chronic shortage of GPs.

"That is why Plaid Cymru is leading the campaign to establish a Medical School for north Wales that would be able to train the GPs of the future here in our communities.

"In the short term, the  Welsh Government should urgently undertake a major recruitment drive to address this shortage of doctors. We cannot go on with this system whereby patients are routinely failed by poor workforce planning."

Mel ab Owain, Penmaenmawr town clerk said: “We have had a surgery in Penmaenmawr as long as anyone can remember. The town has quite a lot of old people and very young ones, the two age groups who really need doctors most. Asking them, some in prams with their mothers, to go by bus to go to the surgery is making people very angry.

“We are going to hold a public meeting with the GPs, the health board and the community health council to discuss this.”

Ward cllr, Ken Stevens, added: “Penmaenmawr has a population of 4,350 and the idea they would have to travel to the next village, Llanfairfechan, fills me with apprehension.

“I had a meeting with the practice manager, to discuss this and learned the staff of the practice are very upset.

“If they close this surgery they will still have the same ratio of patients to doctors, so I can’t see why they need to close the surgery in Penmaenmawr, I can’t see what difference it will make.

“I have asked for a meeting with Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Government Secretary of Health to discuss this.”  

Email:

allan.george@nwn.co.uk

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