THE area's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging patients at a threatened South Lakes GP surgery to have their say on the future of the service.

Morecambe Bay CCG is consulting the views of patients at the Goodly Dale practice in Bowness over its future, after notice was given on the present arrangement with a Leeds-based private provider, OneMedical Group.

A meeting of the Primary Care Commissioning Committee was held on Tuesday, August 18 to discuss the future of the GP surgery, as a present agreement for care provision is due to expire on March 31, 2021.

OneMedical Group said the decision to end the contract had 'not been taken lightly' and was made 'in consideration of the needs of the local community'.

South Lakes MP, Tim Farron, reports a number of constituents having raised concerns with his office over the care provided during the time the agreement with OneMedical has been in place - primarily over concerns of a lack of continuity in the care they received (owing to an 'over-reliance' on locum doctors), as well as patients regularly struggling to book an appointment due to staff shortages.

Along with two Liberal Democrat councillors - Andrew Jarvis and Dyan Jones - Mr Farron has now launched a petition calling for Goodly Dale to be saved.

Windermere representative for the local authority, Cllr Ben Berry, is heading a separate campaign to ensure the service does not disappear from the area - with there being just one other GP practice in the town.

He said this week: "It's incredibly important that we retain the two GP services in the town.

"We've learned in the past few years that an out-of-town operator doesn't have the long-term interests and the health and well-being interests of the people in our town - which has led me personally to stand up and try to save this site.

"This is why I'm leading a bid to take over this service. We simply can't afford to see this dispersal.

"I'm working on a bid, as well as with other landlords, to try and secure another site if the lease is not made available. It's vital that this service stays, that it continues to operate and that there's a long-term vision for the town."

Commenting yesterday on the petition and on the consultation process launched by the CCG, Mr Farron said: “I’m really grateful to our local health bosses for agreeing to listen to the views of local patients before making any final decisions.

“It’s really important that we give them a really clear message that we want the Goodly Dale surgery to remain open, that the people who are given the new contract must not be some private company from far away like last time round, and that we have a local service with local doctors that people can rely on.

“If you agree with us, if you want to save our surgery then please sign the petition today."

A spokesperson for OneMedical Group said: “The decision to end our contract has not been taken lightly and has been done in discussion with the CCG, local practices and the local leaders of the practice.

"It has been made in consideration of the needs of the local community, the rapidly evolving primary care network and developments in ways of working nationally and locally.

"We feel now is the right time for us to hand over the service after 5 years, working with the CCG, to a new provider who can continue to drive the practice forward as it grows and develops."