A thousand reasons to have a medical centre

Staff and patients at Mexborough Medical Practice with their petition against the scrapping of the "super surgery".
Staff and patients at Mexborough Medical Practice with their petition against the scrapping of the "super surgery".

Times EXCLUSIVE

ANGRY patients and medical staff have handed a 1,000-name petition to health chiefs after they scrapped plans to build a new “super-surgery” in Mexborough.

Several months ago, Doncaster Primary Care Trust (PCT) revealed “exciting” plans to build the £5m surgery in the town, to replace three outdated doctors’ practices.

The Mexborough Medical Practice, along with two others on Adwick Road, were to be brought under one roof at the new facility.

But then the PCT pulled the plug on the scheme in September, claiming they could not afford to build it in the “current financial climate”.

Mexborough Medical Practice manager Lisa Ripley claimed bosses had lied to them by promising, in the summer, that the money for the new surgery was safe.

She and her colleagues have now gathered around 1,000 signatures, on a petition demanding better health facilities in Mexborough, which has been handed into NHS Doncaster Chief Executive Annette Laban.

Ms Ripley said: “Our surgery is based in an old house that was built in the 1960s, and I think it is one of the only ones in Doncaster that is.

“It is too small. The patients have complained about confidentiality issues when talking in the small reception area, and there is poor disabled access.

“This is why so many people have signed the petition saying that the situation needs to improve.”

When health chiefs first announced that the “super-surgery” would not go ahead, they vowed instead to look at refurbishing existing facilities. But Ms Ripley does not think this is good enough.

She said: “Putting sticking plasters on things will not solve the problem. Nor will building an extension to the back of the current surgery”.

She added that she has organised another meeting with NHS Doncaster chief executive Annette Laban in mid-January.

But staff at the practice are now looking at alternative ways of financing a new “super-surgery”.

She said: “We can’t stay in this building. We have had contact with a few interested parties, and have looked at a couple of locations around Mexborough where a new surgery could possibly be sited.

“But we will meet with the management team in January and see if they are able to help us out financially in any way.”

A spokesman for NHS Doncaster said: “Unfortunately, the financial pressures on the NHS over the past few months have meant that we have had to revise our future expenditure plans, including having to suspend our ongoing major building programme.

“However, we do recognise that we need to ensure improvements are made to family doctor premises in Mexborough and, working closely with Mexborough Medical Practice, we have prioritised the issues that need to be addressed.

“We are currently looking at the available options and will be having further talks with the practice next month to discuss the way forward.”