Irony as under threat surgeries rated best

Two surgeries in the Esk Valley that are under the threat of closure have been rated by patients as being amongst the best in the country.

NHS England carried out the survey before Christmas and the results have been compiled based upon a million responses from patients at over 8,000 surgeries.

They were asked 10 key questions on issues such as the out of hours service, patient trust and ease of phone access.

The practice at Danby came third in the country overall with 91 % of patients rating it as very good.

Egton surgery was joint tenth in the poll with 88% of patients rating the service they get as very good.

Both surgeries face uncertain futures following the government’s decision to withdraw the Minimum Income Practice Guarantee (MPIG) payment.

It was a sum of money that was awarded to smaller branches, often in rural areas, to help them remain viable.

Without that payment bosses at the Egton and Danby surgeries fear they might have to make savings elsewhere such as cutting staff or the services they provide.

Linda Lloyd, chairman of a patient’s group, said it was ironic that the two branches which came out as being among the best were being penalised.

She said: “Everyone nationally, not just us, seems to value the local GP surgery that gives excellent service, so how is it that the government sees fit to the withdraw the funding that makes these places run.

“They might be special because of the people but it is the funding we need to carry on. It just goes to show that nationally, everyone thinks this way.”

Mrs Lloyd said it was vital to retain branch surgeries as patients, many of which are elderly, would struggle to get to Whitby or other villages due to the infrequent bus service and there being no taxi services based in the village.

She added: “All these little things mount up. It is a quick fix to save money but we have the biggest need and don’t get anything.”