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MP meets health minister to press for surgeries to remain open

July 24, 2014 10:55 AM

Tim in WestminsterSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron met with Health Minister Earl Howe to push for his help in keeping Hawkshead and Coniston surgeries open.

Tim had been pressing for a meeting with the minister, Earl Howe, since learning that Hawkshead and Coniston surgeries are among those that might face closure. The surgeries are among the smallest in the country in terms of registered patients, but without them local residents would face a miles-long round trip, involving a ferry journey, just for a simple GP check-up.

Tim used the meeting, which took place in the Department of Health in London, to push for extra funding that would give patients registered at the surgeries the peace of mind that they wouldn't be forced to close. The minister made it clear that he would keep an open mind, and promised that he 'wouldn't lose sight' of an issue of such importance to Tim's constituents, although he couldn't commit to any extra funding there and then.

Also present at Tuesday's meeting was Dr David Geddes, National NHS Primary Care Commissioning head, who said he would come up to visit the two surgeries and push the local Clinical Commissioning Group, who fund local health services, to support local residents by keeping the surgeries open.

Two of Tim's constituents, Rob Gee and Andrew Pow, also attended the meeting, having made the trip down to London especially to help Tim represent the views of local residents.

Tim said: "We had a promising meeting with the health minister, Earl Howe. When we asked for his support to keep the two surgeries open, it wasn't a straightforward 'yes', but it was far from a 'sorry, no', and the minister seemed very sympathetic to our arguments-he agreed it's far from reasonable to expect local folk to have to take a ferry ride just to see their GP.

"I am very optimistic that we can work with the minister to keep our surgeries open-and the number 1 man in charge of GPs surgeries at the NHS will be coming up to the area to see what he can do to help.

"I'm very grateful to the minister for meeting with me yesterday, and I'm going to keep on pushing for those surgeries to stay open".