THE FATE of patients using a surgery facing closure due to ‘inadequacy’ hangs in the balance – but a window of hope could reside in a new local facility with proper backing.

New Chapel Surgery in Long Crendon is deemed ‘unfit for purpose’ by provider Unity Health and is facing permanent closure forcing its current patients to consider a partner facility in Brill.

A local action group however has highlighted transport problems getting to Brill and whether it could take the influx of new patients coming from Long Crendon, which currently serves 3,490 people.

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An ongoing consultation process has recommended an alternative local facility, with reduced service according to Unity Health – the build costs of which however are estimated in the region of £1.4 million, plus additional costs.

Community spokesperson Fiona Cayley said the group was willing to “look at all options” to keep healthcare facilities as local as possible – adding Long Crendon Parish Council had offered £10,000 in support of new facility plans, and that a piece of land on Chearsley Road had also been identified.

She urged the closure be taken “off the table” until a suitable solution can be found, adding Unity Health should “take the lead”.

Dr Anna Furlonger at Unity Health described New Chapel Surgery as “cramped”, having “inadequate space” and drainage issues – and ongoing staff retention difficulties.

Patient and staff safety concerns around social distancing saw the surgery temporarily close due to its “layout” when the lockdown began in March.

It now also appears the “ageing building”, inadequate parking and disabled access, and limitations on expansion mean the surgery is “really no longer suitable for the needs of a modern GP practice”.

Unity Health intends to transfer all patients, clinicians, and staff to Brill.

Jessica Newman, head of primary care for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said it was ‘willing and excited to play its part’ in exploring the community hub, but advised all capital is derived from NHS England.

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“We realise many patients will be disappointed at the prospect of our Long Crendon surgery closing,” said Dr Furlonger. “But unfortunately, this building is simply no longer fit for the purposes of modern general practice.

“Although some of the coronavirus restrictions may ease to some extent over the coming months, the building’s existing issues make it impossible to maintain a high standard of safe, modern healthcare provision from this site.”

Unity Health urged existing patients to lend their feedback to the proposal by:

  • Email: (with LC Feedback as the subject)
  • Post: Unity Health, Wades Field, Stratton Road, Princes Risborough, HP27 9AX
  • Your Voice Bucks
  • Comments to Long Crendon, Brill and Thame surgeries

The deadline is November 23.

We’ve launched a new Facebook group for local news junkies, politics fans and everyone who wants to keep up to date with the latest issues affecting Long Crendon. Please join the conversation over at Buckinghamshire Politics