Islington Labour councillors for Caledonian ward have expressed their disappointment over NHS England’s decision to not provide continued GP surgery provision for local people on or near the site of Roman Way Medical Centre, which closes at the end of August.
The councillors have been calling for NHS England to provide ongoing GP surgery provision for local people, in order to meet present and future demand. With several new local housing developments due to be completed in the near future, and with little capacity to expand existing services, the population in Caledonian ward and the number of local people needing to access local GP services is set to increase.
NHS England’s decision follows a campaign from Caledonian ward councillors, in which they gathered over 500 petition signatures and made local residents’ voices heard at meetings with Islington Clinical Commission Group (CCG).
While the NHS was exploring the option of opening a new surgery, they found this was not possible to do so before Roman Way Medical Centre closes. This was partly due to Tory Government procurement rules, which benefit private providers rather than focus on local need.
Caledonian ward councillors have vowed to continue urging NHS England to explore opening a new GP surgery, so that all local people can access NHS services.
Cllr Sara Hyde, Islington Labour councillor for Caledonian ward, said:
“We are deeply disappointed that NHS England has chosen not to provide an ongoing GP surgery provision for local people to replace Roman Way Medical Centre. The strength of feeling for this to happen is clear from the 560 petition signatures we gathered and the numerous discussions we had with local residents.
“The Tory Government’s procurement policy, which favours private American providers over local people’s needs, has made it harder for NHS England to open a new medical centre nearby. However, we firmly believe that more can still be done to explore potential new sites for a GP surgery, in order to meet future demand in Caledonian ward as the population increases. We will continue to urge NHS England to consider how this can be done.
“The priority now must be to ensure there is no loss of access to NHS services for local people. We will continue to fight to protect the NHS and local people’s ability to access these vital services.”
NHS England wrote to the surgery’s 4,700 patients last week (27 July) to confirm their decision. Roman Way Medical Centre will relocate to Islington Central Medical Centre on Laycock Street and patients will automatically be registered to the new practice.
In May, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, and Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care responded to the official NHS England consultation urging them and North Central London Joint Commissioning Committee to ‘take a strategic view of GP provision in the area’. The letter also made clear Islington Council’s strong endorsement of the option of procuring another practice to provide services for patients.
Cllr Watts and Cllr Burgess also contacted Islington CCG to support the procurement of a new GP practice in the local area.