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Against doctor's orders: Ravenscroft Medical Centre relocation set for approval despite widespread opposition

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 August 2019

Save Our Surgery campaigners outside Ravenscroft Medical Centre 166-168 Golders Green Road NW11, ahead of a patients meeting at the practice. Pictured left campaigner Stephen Colman and second right Emma Davis. Picture: Polly Hancock

Save Our Surgery campaigners outside Ravenscroft Medical Centre 166-168 Golders Green Road NW11, ahead of a patients meeting at the practice. Pictured left campaigner Stephen Colman and second right Emma Davis. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Plans to move the Ravenscroft Medical Centre three miles from its Golders Green Road site are set to be approved today (Thu) - even though one of the practice's founding partners has criticised the move.

A report to the North Central London (NCL) primary care in common meeting recommends approval, despite a forecast loss of patients, a consultation showing almost 1,000 patients opposed the move, and the loss of one of the partners in the proposal.

Dr Brian Golden helped to set up the GP surgery and also served as its senior partner, and has spoken out to criticise plans that will see the existing practice close and services move to Finchley Memorial Hospital, where Barnet CCG has been looking to fill space costing it £180,000 a year .

Dr Golden told this newspaper: "I had no intention of arguing the case through the press, but we have got no choice. In London, 0.1pc of people register with a GP that far away. There needs to be more time to scrutinise this"

The report assumes 72pc of patients will stay at the relocated practice, based on 28pc telling the consultation they would not be able to travel - but Dr Golden considered this unrealistic.

The CCG has identified the risk of too few patients moving with the practice, but the report says the current senior partner has "mitigations" in place in case of financial loss.

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MP Mike Freer (Con, Finchley and Golders Green) has also expressed his disappointment - as have local Labour politicians and a number of local Rabbis.

Mike Freer told this newspaper he continued to oppose the move but added: "If it is approved, then I would expect the CCG to work with me and the community to seek to have new GPs move into the vacated surgery. We need to work together to ensure that those patients that do not wish to move, have local provision."

Labour councillors including Cllr Sara Conway - announced earlier this year as the prospective Labour candidate for Mr Freer's seat - called the decision "appalling". Cllr Conway added: "Moving Ravenscroft surgery was opposed by 86 per cent of respondents as they are losing a crucial local surgery."

She also called for a review into local GP surgery provision.

A Barnet CCG spokesperson said: "The report sets out the benefits that include: offering patients better care through having easier access to the many other high quality services and diagnostics offered in a modern facility; and more integrated care through the partnership working proposed with other organisations.

"The move would also enable us to train more doctors and would save around £150,000, reflecting Barnet CCG's responsibility to make the best use of NHS funds."

They added that the CCG was committed to "excellent general practice services for residents" and had recently boosted the number of evening and weekend GP's appointments by 48,000 in the borough.

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