Pilsley residents have handed over a 600 name petition calling for plans to close their surgery to be stopped as the consultation period ends.
The Staffa Health Care GP practice is proposing to close its branch which serves around 2,800 patients due to ‘challenging’ staffing difficulties and ‘workload pressures’.
Pilsley pensioners Shiela Baldwin and Wendy Hardwick organised the petition. Sheila said: “We are both pensioners and we both want to try and keep the surgery open.
“We walked the streets of Pilsley for three weeks knocking on doors gathering signatures. Wendy had a walking stick. I have ulcerated toes and they felt like they were on fire.
“We spoke to people who did not know what they are going to do, especially OAPs and disabled people.
“One lady was blind and she will have to pay extra to heave her medication picked up by her carer."
Ruth Cater, Practice Manager at Staffa Health said; “As a surgery our primary concern is the well-being of our patients and we believe consolidating services is the only way we will be able to continue to deliver quality care to everyone we look after.
"Operating over our four sites is challenging and for some time the practice has been experiencing increasing difficulty in sustaining clinical GP cover across 4 sites.
"Across England the NHS is experiencing a sustained fall in GP numbers and we too have experienced a reduction in the number of GPs working for the practice and we haven’t been able to recruit to our vacant GP posts in recent years.
"This has been causing problems with staffing four separate sites with a GP so as a result we reluctantly need to adjust the number of sites we are operating from.
"For this reason we are looking into the future of the Pilsley Surgery and have asked for feedback as part of our planning, so we can find the best practical solution for the future to ensure we continue giving our patients the highest possible standard of care.
"I’d like to thank Mrs Baldwin and Mrs Hardwick for taking the time to visit the majority of the residents in Pilsley village to discuss the proposal and sign the petition and for encouraging them to feedback to us as part of the patient consultation by filling in a questionnaire or attending a drop in session.
"The consultation period has now finished and we will now be taking some time to review all of the feedback we have received before any decisions are taken. "