HUNDREDS of people have backed a campaign to keep a GP in their town centre.
Havant MP Alan Mak has earned the support of Emsworth residents with a petition calling for a new satellite surgery in the town centre, if its current practice moves.
It comes amid long-standing plans to relocate Emsworth Surgery, in North Street, to a new centre in the north of the town, at Redlands Grange.
No decision has been made, but Mr Mak is urging residents to have their say before doctors begin final talks on the move in the coming months.
The Conservative, who launched the petition in April, said: ‘Thank you to everyone who has backed me in my community campaign so far. .
‘Over the coming months I’ll be continuing to put pressure on the doctors and ensure that the option for an ongoing presence in the town centre is fully explored.
‘I encourage everyone who has not yet done so to sign my petition – the more people that sign-up the stronger the message that we can send to the doctors.’
While Mr Mak wants to keep healthcare services in central Emsworth, for all residents, doctors have previously cited the benefits of moving north.
As previously reported in The News, GP partner Dr Abu Chinwala said ‘approximately 8,500’ of Emsworth Surgery’s 13,000 patients live north of the town’s railway line – and are ‘not within walking distance’ of the existing centre.
But Mr Mak said if a satellite surgery can be run in Westbourne as it is now – close to Redlands Grange – there is a precedent for a similar facility close to Emsworth’s town centre.
Former councillor Brendan Gibb Gray, a patient at Emsworth Surgery, said the idea was ‘sensible’.
He added: ‘People trust doctors to make the right decision, but I believe keeping a satellite surgery in the centre of Emsworth, if we do get a new one, is the lesser of two evils.’
Meanwhile resident Ray Cobbett, who attended the initial meeting where the move was first proposed, said what is most important is that a decision is ‘finally made’.
He said: ‘This is something that has been looming for 10 years or so, with the current surgery being inadequate.
‘I understand the views of those who live above the railway lane wanting services closer to them, but frankly what matters most now is that a decision is finally made.’
To sign Mr Mak’s petition or learn more about it, visit alanmak.org.uk/surgery.
The papers are also in HH Treagust and Sons family butchers in Emsworth high street.