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Save our Surgery group release update on the progress of new village GP surgery

The Save our Surgery Group, L-R: Cllr Harry Barker, Cllr Mike Cumming, Cllr Daniel Edwards, Simon Fell MP, Cllr Ben Shirley, Cllr Sam Ronson. Not pictured are Mrs Janice Cumming, clerk to Askam and Ireleth Parish Council and Mr Stephen Toulmin.

A group which was set up to save a GP service in Askam and Ireleth says that it is “hoped” that GP services will be able to return to Askam by the end of August.

Local councillors, including Askam and Ireleth Parish Concillors, Barrow Borough councillors and the local member for the County Council sit on the Save our Surgery group which was set up by Simon Fell MP. The group is supported by Mr Stephen Toulmin of the consortium of the Lancashire and Cumbria LMC’s.

After presenting a public petition to Parliament, the group has been successful in finding a local buyer for the current practice building on Parklands Drive.  The group has also helped to encourage local GP, Dr Wilson, Duddon Valley Medical Practice (DVMP) to formally apply to deliver medical services in Askam.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supported Dr Wilson’s application.  The variation to Dr Wilson’s current contract was then approved by the Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC).

The building transaction is currently with the solicitors between the buyer of the Askam building and the current owner, Dr Jain.

Speaking from DVMP, Mrs Katharine Wilson (Assistant Practice Manager/Practice Nurse) said: “We’ve all been working very hard throughout the pandemic to deliver our current services for patients in Askam and Ireleth.  We’ve been working closely with the Save our Surgery group and everyone is doing all that they can to commence the delivery of current and some new services in Askam once again.  We all hope that this can be achieved by the end of August.”

Welcoming the update and progress made so far, chairman of the Save our Surgery group, local MP Simon Fell said: “This is a most welcome update.  Everyone has worked so hard to get to this point.  If we are able to begin delivering services in Askam by the end of August it will be truly remarkable.  The local community were clear that they wanted the surgery to stay and the way this group have pulled together to make it happen has been remarkable.  Everything is now in the hands of the solicitors and we hope they’ll be able to get their job done in a timely manner.”

Patients who had been registered with Dr Jain have been  encouraged to register with DVMP.  Mrs Wilson went on to say: “We’ve been delighted to welcome our new patients from the Askam and Ireleth area.  Our teams are doing all that they can to make the process as seamless as possible.  We have received some really positive feedback already which is lovely.  We can’t wait to get started working from the new branch in Askam.”

When the new branch opens patients can expect a GP and Practice Nurse to be available in Askam over four of the five working days, together with the dispensary services currently provided.  The GP and Practice Nurse cover will be provided over the full, five working days however at either the Kirkby or Broughton surgery when the Askam surgery is closed.

For those patients working during the day there will be at least one, extended GP and Practice Nurse session available till 20.30 in the evening.  The late session will be provided weekly, in rotation across the three practice surgery buildings.

Commenting on the plans, local County Councillor Ben Shirley said: “It’s been a long journey and we’ve overcome so many obstacles to get to this stage.  I’m so pleased that we’re nearing the stage now where DVMP are looking to re-open the doors of Parklands surgery.  This is such an important step forward for the community of Askam and Ireleth.”

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