Islington Labour councillors for Caledonian ward have called for a new doctor’s surgery to be opened in the local community, as the Roman Way Medical Practice will close in August.
The GPs currently running Roman Way are retiring after many years serving the local community, and NHS England have been consulting the surgery’s 4,700 patients on what should happen once the surgery closes.
NHS England have outlined two options – procure another practice or organisation to provide services for patients (eg. a new GP surgery), or to ask patients to register with another nearby practice.
With several new local housing developments set to be completed in the near future, including at Holloway Prison, and with little capacity to expand existing local GP surgeries, the Cally councillors are supporting calls from Cllr Richard Watts (Leader of Islington Council) and Cllr Janet Burgess (Executive Member for Health and Social Care) for a new GP surgery to be opened.
Cllr Watts and Cllr Burgess have responded to the official NHS England consultation urging them and the North Central London Joint Commissioning Committee to “take a strategic view of GP provision in the area” and making clear Islington Council’s strong endorsement of the option of procuring another practice to provide services for patients.
Cllr Sara Hyde, Islington Labour councillor for Caledonian ward, said:
“Roman Way Medical Centre is a highly valued and much-needed local GP surgery. We’re really sorry to see the surgery closing. What’s important now is that NHS England sees sense and ensures a new practice is opened as close to the current surgery as possible.
“With new housing developments in the local area on the way, including up to 1,000 homes at the Holloway Prison site at some point in the not too distant future, we can’t lose a surgery and expect other small local practices to cope with demand.
“I’m particularly concerned about older and more vulnerable people having to go further to see their doctor. We need to retain a surgery as close to the current practice as possible.”
Cllr Watts’ and Cllr Burgess’ detailed letter supporting the opening of a new GP practice identifies the impact losing a practice would have on patients who are unable to travel further, the expected population growth in the local area and the lack of capacity in neighbouring surgeries to expand. Additional supporting information attached to the letter also makes clear that local planning policies would mean the use of the existing surgery building could not easily be changed if another surgery was not provided, as it would represent a loss or reduction of ‘social infrastructure’ (the Roman Way Medical Practice building is owned by the current GPs).
Cllr Watts and Cllr Burgess have also contacted Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ask them to support the procurement of a new GP practice in the local area.
It is expected that the North Central London Joint Commissioning Committee will make a decision on which option to pursue in June.
Pictured - Cllr Hyde, Cllr Convery and Cllr O'Halloran outside the Roman Way Medical Practice.