Community shock at bid to close surgery

Concerns have been voiced over plans to close a doctors’ surgery in Twechar.

17-10-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. TWECHAR. 10th Anniversary party for Twechar Healthy Living and Enterprise Centre, Twechar HLC.

And at a recent meeting East Dunbartonshire councillors considered a motion opposing the closure.

The satellite surgery at Twechar Healthy Living and Enterprise Centre did offer 12 GP appointments over the course of a half-day session per week but has been closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In June the practice of Doctors Davda, Ness, Fraser and McGroarty, of Woodhead Medical Centre, requested permission to make the closure permanent.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde conducted a public consultation but is unable to judge the case presented by the practice.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council. Although not a formal consultee, EDC is entitled to submit a response while local councillors serving wechar were formally involved in the consultation process.

One of those councillors, John Jamieson, said: “I was quite depressed to see the proposal given the hard work that residents did over the years to get a surgery, even for one session a week. The reasons for closing this surgery were not brought to the attention of people putting in objections.”

Councillor Jamieson referred to the report which spelled out a number of issues, including the lack of proper cleaning and clinical waste disposal, issues with the centre such as possible cross-contamination, lack of security or reception, no panic button, IT problems, no mobile coverage and growing demand on the main practice in Kirkintilloch making it harder to spare a GP for Twechar.

“There is an awful lot more information here than we were given at the time,” continued Councillor Jamieson.

“The people in Twechar are no longer able to go to Kilsyth as new patients so that is one avenue that’s been closed to them. There are travel difficulties, they’ve only got a small bus that takes 26 passengers and of course within the Covid situation that is even further restricted.”

Councillor Jamieson pointed out that Twechar was a deprived area but one with a growing population which he felt should justify the presence of a GP surgery.