FOLLOWING the application from Margaret Street Practice, Ammanford, to close its branch surgery, Tycroes, Hywel Dda University Health Board is encouraging people to have their say before June 24.
Tycroes has been closed since February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the building served as a ‘red site’ for the Amman Gwendraeth GP cluster. Prior to the pandemic, the Branch was used for a range of general medical services.
Since its temporary closure, patients of Tycroes have used Margaret Street Practice, which is approximately two miles away. There is a regular bus route between the two Surgeries.
Margaret Street Practice, Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Community Health Council are working together to engage with patients of both surgeries to gain an understanding of how a proposed closure would affect patients. The engagement period, which started on 9 May, runs until Friday 24 June. Patients can provide feedback in the following ways:
Completing a feedback form at surgeries and pharmacies
Calling 0300 303 8322, option 4
Writing to Tracey Huggins, Head of GMS Services, Primary Care Team, Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, Felinfoel, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, SA14 8BE
Online via www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk (opens in new tab) and the My Surgery app
Here are some frequently asked questions based on feedback that has been received so far:
How does having only one site mean more doctor appointments?
Should Tycroes close, the potential benefits for patients include more available appointments for all patients at the Margaret Street Practice, as staff would not be covering two sites, and earlier and later appointments could be offered from Margaret Street.
Reduced travel time for clinical staff will create capacity for an extra eight appointments per day, both face to face and virtual. The Practice have also recruited two extra nurses so are now able to offer more appointments than two years ago.
How will parking at St Margaret Street be managed?
The Practice appreciates there are limited spaces immediately outside Margaret Street Surgery however there is a very large pay and display opposite.
Travel to main surgery will be a struggle
During the last two years, the Practice hasn’t received any complaints relating to parking or transport however we are encouraging patients to comment on this during this engagement process.
There is a regular bus route between Tycroes Surgery and St Margaret Street Surgery and for most patients, it is a short drive (average of five minutes).
Will virtual appointments be used?
Margaret Street Practice will continue to operate a multi accessible model including virtual and face to face appointments as clinically appropriate.
What about blood tests?
Margaret Street Practice stopped their secondary care phlebotomy clinics on 11 April upon their Healthcare Support Worker handing in her notice.
Most patients in Carmarthenshire have to book an appointment online to get their secondary care bloods carried out off site from their practice; for Amman Gwendraeth patients, this would be in either Amman Valley Hospital or the Antioch Centre in Llanelli.
Margaret Street Surgery will continue to delivery primary care blood tests such as diabetes and INR (which measures the time for your blood to clot). Patients have been communicated with following this change of procedure.
Can patients still use Tycroes Pharmacy?
Patients would still be able to use the Tycroes Pharmacy and the Practice would continue to send all requested prescriptions to the pharmacy.
Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said:
“We are committed to listening to and engaging with local populations around the proposal to relocate Primary Care services from Tycroes Surgery to Margaret Street and we would therefore like to invite patients to get involved in the engagement process.
“We are committed to working closely with the Practice and the Community Health Council throughout this process and will keep patients informed of the results of this engagement exercise.”
Vice Chair of Hywel Dda Community Health Council, Dr Barbara Wilson said: “GP services are so important to the communities they serve. When the health board comes to make its decision about the future of Tycroes branch surgery, it’s crucial that the public have their say.
“Whether people support this proposal or oppose it, the CHC will be ensuring that those views are heard and understood by the health board.”
Patients are reminded that services are also available through local community pharmacies who offer a range of expert services. Find out more here: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/pharmacy/ (opens in new tab)