Public meeting over Holyhead GP crisis
A public meeting will be held over a town’s GP “crisis” later this week.
The loss of doctors over recent months has led to the health board taking over two of Holyhead’s three GP surgeries, with residents reportedly left with “nowhere to turn”.
As a result, many have been left having to rely on out of hours services at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, with one county councillor claiming that “people could die” unless action is taken.
Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth, who will chair Friday’s public meeting, has written to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board after constituents raised concerns over the loss of doctors in recent months.
This has led to the health board taking over the Longford House and Cambria GP Practices, leaving Victoria Surgery as the only stand-alone surgery in the town.
The health board says that cover has been redeployed from south Gwynedd on two days a week to help alleviate the issues.
A local councillor also raised the issue during a recent full council meeting, concerned that recent planning permission for several housing developments would only exacerbate the issue locally.
“We need to put full weight on Betsi and Cardiff to get an urgent solution or else someone will die as a result,” said Cllr Shaun Redmond.
“At this rate it’ll be another five years before a decision is made and Victoria Surgery will also be in crisis by then.
“Young doctors need modern health centres to attract them.”
A fellow councillor, Trefor Lloyd Hughes, who will be present on Friday, added: “The health board must give us a timetable of when we can expect services to be back at full capacity as soon as possible.”
The island’s MP, Albert Owen, added: “The current situation is simply not acceptable and a solution must be found as soon as possible.
“I have already taken the issue up directly with the chief executive of BCUHB and also Vaughan Gethin AM, the Welsh Government Health Minister.
“While I appreciate there are challenges faced by the health board with the loss of so many resident doctors at the same time, the BCHUB did inform patients that there would be no change in the service offered to patients at these surgeries.
“This is not the case and many hundreds of patients are not currently receiving an acceptable level of primary healthcare. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
In response, Wyn Thomas, BCUHB assistant director for Primary Care West, said: “The recruitment of GPs remains a challenge for much of the UK because of a national shortage.
“We are working hard to recruit salaried permanent GPs at Longford Surgery and Cambria Surgery through advertisements which are currently open and dedicated recruitment events.
“In the interim, regular locum GPs are supporting the practice.
“In addition, one of our salaried GPs currently working in South Gwynedd will be based at the practice two days a week from October 21.”
The meeting will take at 6pm on Friday, October 25, at Millbank Community Centre.
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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