Villagers left without GP services for two years after surgery's 'temporary' closure

Protesters say their village GP surgery should be reopened, more than two years after the Covid pandemic forced its 'temporary' closure.

The protest at St Martin's Surgery
The protest at St Martin's Surgery

A decision over the future of a GP surgery branch in the village of St. Martin's, near Oswestry, is expected on Tuesday.

Villagers gathered outside the building in the centre of the village on Saturday to show their support for keeping the facility on the Overton Road.

Almost 400 have signed an electronic petition calling for it to be retained.

The village has been without a GP surgery since the Overton Road site closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

It forms part of the Chirk Surgery, across the Welsh border. However last year it was announced that there were plans to close the St Martin's facility permanently.

The Primary Care Contracting Department within the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, responsible for health care services within the Chirk area, is due to meet on Tuesday, April 26.

Locals say there is no longer a direct bus service between the Welsh border town and their village and say using public transport to go to the surgery in Chirk means a change of buses.

Among those at the protest was North Shropshire MP, Helen Morgan.

She said she had been approached by residents concerned about the final decision that was originally due to be made in March. "We managed to get the decision delayed by a few weeks, to build up enough opposition to the closure," she said.

The MP said many residents would have problems being able to access appointments.

"It is obviously a really important issue for St Martin's to keep access to a doctors' surgery.

"The response to our rally and our petition, calling on health bosses to save the surgery, has been phenomenal.

"Closing the GP surgery will undoubtedly impact on residents and their health. We know the temporary closure has already resulted in many unable to access basic healthcare and routine appointments.

"It’s just not acceptable. I hope our concerns are listened to.

“The proposed closure comes at a time when people already are having to choose between heating and eating, and the cost of a taxi or bus fare to see a doctor is something many don’t have going spare."

The final decision on whether the surgery will remain is expected to be made on April 26.

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