MP fights closure of Torrington minor injuries unit

THE closure, without warning or consultation," of the minor injuries unit at Castle Gardens Surgery in Torrington and Torrington Health Centre has been strongly criticised by Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox. The MP, who has described the closur

THE closure, "without warning or consultation," of the minor injuries unit at Castle Gardens Surgery in Torrington and Torrington Health Centre has been strongly criticised by Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox.The MP, who has described the closure decision as "profoundly disturbing", is to meet GPs from both practices in Great Torrington to discuss the move, and has written to Dr Kevin Snee, the Chief Executive of Devon Primary Care Trust, seeking an urgent explanation and review of the decision. He has also arranged to meet Dr. Snee to discuss the issue. In 2006, the PCT closed the MIU in Torrington Cottage Hospital and approached the surgeries in Torrington asking them to take over the MIU, which they duly did. Mr Cox said that, since then, the surgeries had provided an efficient, cheap and comprehensive service to their patients. However, the decision, which was made by Devon Primary Care Trust, wouldl now force hundreds of patients in Great Torrington and surrounding areas to travel to the nearest Minor Injuries Unit nearly eight miles away in Bideford. Mr Cox said that, in December, the Bideford unit also controversially closed its doors after 8.30 p.m., and it appeared there would be no minor injuries cover in Torridge at all after that time.GPs in Great Torrington have expressed opposition to the move, and have pointed out that three quarters of their patients already live more than seven miles from the surgery, meaning that they will have to drive many miles further to get treatment. Some could have to go to Barnstaple, driving up to 40 miles. Geoffrey Cox said: "It seems that once again the interests of patients and residents in rural Torridge have been made the first casualties of budgetary problems, this time of the PCT. Its decision is profoundly disturbing, both in its effects on local people and in the manner in which it was taken. I shall be taking up this issue with the PCT, and with the Strategic Health Authority, vigorously." 1


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