Closure of Colnbrook Surgery confirmed

Healthwatch Slough has this evening confirmed that Colnbrook Surgery will close at the end of February.

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The closure of Colnbrook Surgery has been announced this evening.  Healthwatch Slough, the “independent consumer champion” for health and care across the borough, made the announcement a few hours ago by Twitter.  It follows a meeting this afternoon of the Joint Commissioning Committee, the forum which involves Slough Co-Commissioning Group and NHS England that oversees GP services and primary care.

The branch surgery will close at the end of February 2017 and patients will all be transferred to Langley.

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The root of the problem is understood to be a 45% increase in the rental charged on the High Street practice putting the property beyond the allowed NHS subsidy.  Langley Health Centre partners said in the Summer they had tried – and failed – to find alternative properties in the village that were “feasible and financially viable”.  Senior partner Dr Adams said then he had not given up and further work to explore other options has continued until recently as a detailed timeline and report shared by the Joint Commissioning Committee reveals.

The revised rent saw the practice out of pocket by £8,500 after reimbursement by the NHS, and the expectation that this could double.

The announcement will come as blow to Cllr Hood who had personally overseen efforts to keep Colnbrook’s last remaining GP surgery in in the village.  In November, the former parish council chair told the Finance & Policy Committee that the health centre was still trying to renegotiate the rent but a recent valuation had shown the gap between the present rent and that proposed was wider than anticipated.

The parish council had variously considered accommodating a surgery in the Village Hall, and putting the £34,000 savings from the cancellation of Colnbrook’s PCSO contract towards a mortgage to buy the surgery for the village.  Cllrs Hood and Laxman were also investigating a request for the parish council to consider subsidising the difference in the rental to help them stay in the village.

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It appears now that all attempts to save the surgey have failed and patients have been notified about the closure.

Langley Health Centre considered ten alternatives but none were found to be viable options.

Healthwatch says that care has been taken to ensure that patients are not disadvantaged by the move to Langley.  In a later tweet it added that options going forward were “carefully being deliberated”.

Langley Health Centre will continue to provide home visits to those patients who are housebound.  Last August the practice said that 94.2% of the 2,813 Colnbrook residents registered with it who had needed to see a GP had been seen at the Common Road practice.  The practice says that only 39 patients had only been seen by a GP in the Colnbrook surgery and that only 1 had a serious mobility problem.

In November Cllr Kinane revealed he had received positive responses from the local business community about the funding of a mini bus with a tail lift to enable residents to get to the surgery in Langley if a surgey could not be retained in the village.

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