Trent Road surgery earns reprieve but still faces uncertain future

The future of Trent Road surgery in High Crompton has been put on hold after a report that could have led to its closure was described as containing “inconsistencies”.

Patients now have until August 31, 2019 to provide further evidence to support keeping the practice open.

A final decision is expected to be taken in around a month’s time.

News of the reprieve was greeted with relief by patients who attended a meeting of NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group Primary Care Commissioning Committee on Thursday, August 22.

The Parks Medical Practice has applied to the CCG to close the Trent Road branch – a surgery since 1982 – to concentrate all services at its main site at the Royton and Crompton Health and Wellbeing Centre.

If it had been approved by the committee, including Oldham Council chief executive Carolyn Wilkins, the branch would have closed on September 30, 2019.

Cllr Louie Hamblett (third right) with patients from Trent Road surgery and staff from Lifestyle Pharmacy

Members were told the rationale for closure included: working across two sites is increasingly difficult; logistics of maintaining an efficient and safe service is difficult to achieve, practice budget does not allow for the effective running of two sites without compromises; only one consulting room, no ease of access to wheelchair users and no masked area or interview room to facilitate confidential conversation or privacy.

The committee also heard that the Oak Gables Medical Practice and the Village Medical Practice at Crompton Health Centre, High Street would have capacity to take patients currently using Trent Road who didn’t want to travel into Royton centre.

However, several members raised concerns about stated travel times from High Crompton and surrounds into Royton.

Shaw and Crompton Parish Councillor Tracey Bland said in an email to the committee: “After reviewing the consultation and discussions with members of the local community the overriding concern is the ability to get to Royton for an appointment/ treatment.

“Almost a quarter of all residents in Crompton are over 65 years of age with a significant number of residents trying to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

“But to do this require the support of local services. An hour walk or a 30-minute wait at the bus stop while waiting for interconnecting bus services to Royton for some of the most vulnerable people in the Parish cannot be said to be “accessible”.

“it is clear from the report that the buildings at Trent Road are insufficient to enable the developments that The Parks practice require to improve health services for patients.

“However, removing yet another health provision from Shaw and Crompton will not assist the Parish to cope with the significant health implications that it has.”

Crompton councillor Louie Hamblett, who attended the meeting, said: “Although patients are still left in limbo, we urge them at this practice to apply to join the Village Medical Practice or the Oak Gables Partnership, both based at Crompton Heath Centre, as they are entitled to do so as it only take one bus route to get there.”

CCG chair Graham Foulkes said: “I am hearing things that make me think that today is not the right day to make a decision.

“We at the CCG are committed to the improvement, safety and care of the patients in Oldham. And from what I have heard there are some inconsistencies in the reports that have been presented to us.

“We have also heard fresh information has come in which is not part of these reports. So, it would be wrong to make a decision today.

“I would ask Marion (Colohan, senior commissioning business partner) and her team to look at the information that has come in and to work closely with the Parks Medical Centre to look at these inconsistencies and to offer an explanation and way forward.”

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