AM & MP Call for GP Services to Remain in Gresford

Under no circumstances should Gresford be left with no general practice surgery based in the village.

That is the view of Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths and MP, Ian Lucas who have expressed their concerns in a joint letter to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board that if Alyn Family Doctors do not wish to provide a GP service, the Health Board should ensure other GPs are sought.

The joint letter to the Health Board’s Chief Executive also highlights the geographical and logistical impracticalities of transferring a service from Gresford to Llay and Rossett and the clear flaws in reducing a service when demand is increasing.  It also implores the Health Board to consider submitting a bid for a share of additional Welsh Government funding recently announced.

Last month, Alyn Family Doctors put forward a proposal to transfer GP services from Gresford Health Centre on Poplar Avenue, to its surgeries in Llay and Rossett.  A consultation was launched by the Practice and Wrexham’s AM and MP wrote to thousands of local residents encouraging people to offer their views on the matter.  All feedback gathered will be presented to the local Health Board’s Primary Care Panel on 2nd July 2018.

Whilst the Practice has not yet submitted a formal application to withdraw services, a letter from Vaughan Gething AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services, in response to concerns raised by Lesley Griffiths AM, states the Health Board is expecting the application.  Wrexham’s AM and MP have, therefore, urged the Health Board to take the necessary steps to ensure the continuity of services in Gresford following the formal application.

The letter from the Cabinet Secretary also highlights what funding has been allocated to the Practice and opportunities for future investment.  In 2012, an application for an improvement grant at Llay Health Centre for internal alterations and refurbishment was approved.  The works received a capital grant of over £35,500 from Welsh Government.

A £68m plan to deliver 19 new integrated health and care centres across Wales by 2021 was recently announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services.  Ms Griffiths and Mr Lucas are keen to ascertain whether or not the Health Board is considering submitting a bid for a share of this additional funding, which could be beneficial to Gresford and the surrounding areas.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: “Having contacted Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Services on this matter, I am grateful for their respective responses and the additional information I have received.”

“Whether services are provided by Alyn Family Doctors or an alternative practice, I firmly believe a GP surgery should remain in the village.  Welsh Government funding could be available to improve health centres and as Gresford is a popular and expanding part of Wrexham, it appears suitable for future investment and should be considered accordingly.”

“Ultimately, it is the Health Board’s responsibility to ensure every resident has access to a GP and funding for this is provided by the Welsh Government.  However, as I have previously highlighted, it is important to remember that GPs are self‑employed and independent contractors who, unfortunately, cannot be told what to do when they want to allocate or move their services in a particular way.”

“I look forward to meeting with Alyn Family Doctors next week.”

Ian Lucas MP commented: “The prospect of Gresford not having a GPs’ surgery is, quite simply, unacceptable.”

“We cannot countenance a situation where such an important public facility will be closed.  If the GPs that are operating in Gresford now do not want to provide services, then the Health Board should be looking for other GPs to provide a service there.”

“Access to the surgery in Llay is extremely difficult for elderly people in Gresford due to a lack of public transport connections, and the Rossett facility is inadequate in terms of its size.”

“We have to make sure a GPs’ practice is retained in such an important part of Wrexham.  It’s what we pay our taxes for and why we value our NHS so highly.”