Elderly and vulnerable residents in Middleton Cheney face a difficult journey to Banbury to see a GP after the closure of the village’s surgery, according to a local business owner.
The surgery, which is run by Banbury’s Horsefair Surgery, was closed on October 3 due to difficulty in recruiting GPs, leaving the branch’s patients having to travel three miles to Banbury.
Partners at Horsefair have also handed in their notice and negotiations are ongoing with a potential new health provider.
Sophie Johnson, who lives in nearby Marston St Lawrence and is acting chair of the South Northants Constituency Labour Party, has launched a petition in a bid to save the surgery.
Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Mrs Johnson said: “The surgery was a big asset to the village. It is a big village and there are people here who are over 100 years old. It was a busy popular surgery so the closure is a big deal and a big shock.”
The petition is being put together and distributed around local shops, pubs and business by Middleton Cheney Parish Council.
The former surgery is now up for sale as a renovation project for £195,000, but Mrs Johnson hopes the building could be registered as a community asset and be reopened as a surgery in the future.
She said: “I think it is a shame the property is up for sale. It is all fully kitted out as a surgery and I think between the NHS and the local council, they should be able to buy the property so they can continue it as a surgery and recruit a GP.
“Middleton Cheney is a lovely place to live and I’m sure someone would be able to find a GP willing to live here.”
She added the lack of a local doctors’ surgery could put off families wanting to move to the area.
Anyone interested in joining Mrs Johnson can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The campaign to save Middleton Cheney’s surgery comes as concerns are raised about Banbury GPs’ ability to cope with the rising number of patients in light of the proposed downgrading of the Horton Hospital.
At a meeting of the Community Partnership Network on Friday last week, Diane Hedges, chief operating officer and designated deputy chief executive at the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said two doctors’ practices in Banbury had requested closing their lists to new patients while another surgery wanted to change its boundary.
Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Dr Emma Haskew, of Sibford Surgery said: “There is currently a crisis in general practice in North Oxfordshire, practices are struggling to cope and if they can’t cope and their patients look around for alternative practices there may be a domino effect as other practices are overwhelmed and simply can’t cope with patient numbers and the demands on their time. It hasn’t been possible to recruit more GPs to the area.”