Meeting over surgery axe threat

A PUBLIC meeting is to be held for residents to air their views about the threatened closure of two Essex doctors' surgeries.Essex County Council's health overview and scrutiny service variation panel ordered that patients be consulted before any final decision was made about the permanent closure of Layer-de-la-Haye surgery and the six-month closure of one in Marks Tey.

A PUBLIC meeting is to be held for residents to air their views about the threatened closure of two Essex doctors' surgeries.

Essex County Council's health overview and scrutiny service variation panel ordered that patients be consulted before any final decision was made about the permanent closure of Layer-de-la-Haye surgery and the six-month closure of one in Marks Tey.

Council spokeswoman Catherine Hodson said: "The panel decided that before any permanent closure the public will be approached.

"They will be invited to attend two public meetings within a four to six week period where they can come and air their views.


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"We want to assure people that no decision will be made without their participation."

The meeting specifically discussed the temporary closure of the GP branch surgery at Marks Tey and the permanent closure of one at Layer-de-la-Haye.

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The two branches are part of a private 4,500 patient practice run by Drs Lloyd Gunetilleke, Abi Obisesan and Eamon O'Callaghan from their main surgery in Stanway, Colchester.

They had to consider the closure of the two branches after Dr Gunetilleke decided to leave in March.

Although they have employed a part-time doctor, they wish to keep the Layer-de-la-Haye surgery permanently closed and shut the branch at Marks Tey for up to six months.

As the East Anglian Daily Times reported last week, the proposed closures come at a time when a "crisis" in GP numbers could soon start hitting patient care in the county.

Dr John Cormack, spokesman for the British Medical Association in Essex, said: "Everyone's really struggling at the moment – what's happening in the latest case is just a sign of the crisis that could be coming."

A spokesman for Colchester Primary Care Trust said: "We have to emphasise that the GP picture in Colchester is not that bad. Out of 89 GP posts we only have six vacancies."

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