Patients want to buy surgery to keep it open

PROTEST Martin Reeve, who is leading a campaign against the closure of Locks Road, Surgery, at a public meeting in St John's Church Hall, Church Road. Inset, the audience.      Pictures: Allan Hutchings (112330-678 and 685)
PROTEST Martin Reeve, who is leading a campaign against the closure of Locks Road, Surgery, at a public meeting in St John's Church Hall, Church Road. Inset, the audience. Pictures: Allan Hutchings (112330-678 and 685)
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PATIENTS angry at proposals to close their local GP surgery have launched a ‘radical’ plan to keep it open.

The Locks Road Surgery, known locally as Doctor’s Corner, in Locks Heath was originally set to shut in April this year, but public outcry led Hampshire NHS to delay that date and launch an ongoing consultation.

PROTEST Martin Reeve, who is leading a campaign against the closure of Locks Road, Surgery, at a public meeting in St John's Church Hall, Church Road. Inset, the audience.      Pictures: Allan Hutchings (112330-678 and 685)

PROTEST Martin Reeve, who is leading a campaign against the closure of Locks Road, Surgery, at a public meeting in St John's Church Hall, Church Road. Inset, the audience. Pictures: Allan Hutchings (112330-678 and 685)

Last night, more than 200 people packed St John’s Church in Locks Heath to hear the proposals from several patients who have banded together as the Doctor’s Corner Patient Group.

The group is calling on fellow patients to make a one-off payment of £100, or more, with which they will buy the surgery building and create a board of trustees to run it.

The surgery has 7,000 patients on its books.

Martin Reeve, from the group, said: ‘At this stage we aren’t asking for the money, we’re asking for promises and that gives us something to take to the PCT. We can wait indefinitely or we could trigger something off ourselves.’

If Locks Road Surgery closes patients will be transferred to its partner surgery at Whiteley, forcing them to make a round trip of seven miles.

Practice partners have claimed the Locks Road building is no longer fit for purpose, an issue the group claims can be dealt with through the new trust.

Alongside Mr Reeve, Beryl Flux, Tony Stickler, Philip Purves, John Vyse and John Lewis were appointed as the board members of the new group.

Mr Reeve said after the meeting: ‘We are asking people to give their own money and they are worried what’s going to happen to it. We’ve got to convince them it’s for their own benefit.

‘This is a radical idea.

‘It’s given people food for thought. One has to hope they go home and digest it and think about it in a logical way.’

But Keith Austin, 60, of Huxley Close, added: I’m a bit dubious about expecting people to put in £100 without exhausting all our other options first, but it’s a good kick-start to something that might be a long process.’