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Keep up the pressure over health centre closure – MP

BRIDGWATER’S MP has urged all interested parties to keep up the pressure to ensure a vital local medical centre reopens as soon as possible.

Ian Liddell-Grainger says there has been a huge wave of protest at the abrupt withdrawal of GP services from the Victoria Park community centre.

In a shock announcement last week the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group gave patients a week’s notice that the centre would be closed and that they would be automatically transferred to other GP practices in the town.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger says it is totally unacceptable for the Commissioning Group simply to blame the closure on staff shortages and walk away from the problem.

And, he warned, unless the medical centre was reopened quickly there was a risk the much-valued local pharmacy at the complex could also be lost.

“Local people feel extremely let down by the CCG and I fully understand their anger,” he said.

“The Victoria Park centre was built with public money in response to a very clear public need and it has become a much-valued community asset.

“It is just not good enough for the CCG to declare that there are staffing issues and do nothing further.

“I know there are staff shortages wherever one looks within the NHS but Bridgwater is not exactly the back of beyond and I fail to see why the appropriate staff cannot be attracted to work at the centre – unless it is down to a lack of effort.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said the huge community response to the closure illustrated how important a role the medical centre had played locally.

“I congratulate everyone who has spoken out against this closure and demanded that it be no more than a temporary one,” he said.

“We must all work together to ensure that a full GP service is restored as soon as possible.”

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