Local Liberal Democrats have hit out at Haxby Group after it confirmed the permanent closure of the GP surgery in Stockton-on-the-Forest. This decision was made despite overwhelming opposition from local residents and councillors, supported by a large petition collected by the Liberal Democrats. The surgery closed in November 2022, but Haxby Group stated at the time that the closure was temporary and due to a shortage of reception staff.
However, at a public meeting in April, Prof Mike Holmes, a GP partner at Haxby Group, laid the blame squarely on the Government for a shortage of funding to GP practices and admitted that Haxby Group were applying to close the surgery permanently.
“This decision to close the surgery has left over 1200 residents with no local GP healthcare”, said local Lib Dem Councillor Paul Healey. “They now have to travel to alternative clinics in Acomb, Huntington and Haxby”.
Cllr Tony Fisher added, “Stockton-on-the-Forest has many residents who are no longer able to drive and there is no direct public transport to the nearest alternative surgeries. I cannot believe that an Equalities Impact Assessment would support the closure”.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for York Outer, Cllr Andrew Hollyer, added "Years of under-investment by the Conservatives have left the NHS on the brink.
"Every week I speak to residents in our area who tell me they’ve struggled to get an appointment with their GP or an NHS dentist. Closures such as this can only increase the pressure on York's remaining GP surgeries, many of which already have unacceptably long waiting times for appointments.
"However, rather than act to fix the problems, the Conservatives are picking fights with nurses and junior doctors. This Government has lost its way and clearly doesn’t take the crisis in our health service seriously.
"The Liberal Democrats have a positive plan for our NHS. We’re campaigning to recruit an extra 8,000 GPs, expand the role of pharmacists and improve pay to encourage more people to work in the care sector. All this would have a positive impact - easing the pressure on our hospitals and bringing down waiting times."
Commissioning of primary care is now the responsibility of Integrated Care Boards, with decision making led by local Place Boards. The local Place Board in York is chaired by City of York Council and Cllr Claire Douglas sits on that committee. Cllr Hollyer is calling on Cllr Douglas and the rest of the Board to act on behalf of the residents they represent. He said “York Liberal Democrats agreed previously that these meetings should be in public and we are calling for the next meeting to be held in public to allow residents to make their voices heard.”