LAKES MP Tim Farron has met with health minister Earl Howe as he seeks to keep two Lake District doctors’ surgeries open.
Hawkshead and Coniston surgeries are under threat due to government funding changes.
There are concerns from the GPs that because the surgeries are among the smallest in the country in terms of registered patients, local residents would face long round trips - involving a ferry journey - just for a simple GP check-up.
Mr Farron met Mr Howe at the Department of Health in London.
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Afterwards, he said the minister made it clear that he would keep an open mind, although he would not commit to any extra funding during the meeting.
Mr Farron said: “When we asked for his support to keep the two surgeries open, it wasn’t a straightforward ‘yes’, but it was far from a ‘sorry, no’, and the minister seemed very sympathetic to our arguments.
"He agreed it’s far from reasonable to expect local folk to have to take a ferry ride just to see their GP.
“I am very optimistic that we can work with the minister to keep our surgeries open—and the number one man in charge of GPs surgeries at the NHS will be coming up to the area to see what he can do to help.”
Also present at the meeting was Dr David Geddes, National NHS Primary Care Commissioning head, who said he would visit the two surgeries and push the local Clinical Commissioning Group, who fund local health services, to support local residents by keeping the surgeries open.
Two of Mr Farron’s constituents, Rob Gee and Andrew Pow, also attended the meeting.