A doctor from one of the busiest surgeries in Lurgan has warned services are in limbo because of a lack of direction from the Department of Health on the new Lurgan hub for GPs.
Dr David Burke said his surgery in High Street needs urgent expansion and upgrading but the GPs fear entering a long term lease on new premises if a collective hub may be created.
Dr Burke said High Street surgery had been linked to a joint enterprise for new premises in High Street with Moore’s Lane Surgery a couple of years ago but spiralling costs forced them to pull out of the project.
The surgery is the second largest in Lurgan with seven doctors serving 9,500 patients and is situated in an old town centre building over three floors.
Dr Burke said the surgery does not have enough space and had been eager to move to new purpose-built premises.
He explained that when Clear Pharmacy had applied for permission to convert a vacant shop into a surgery, they had been keen. However, he said they felt costs became prohibitive and coupled with news that the Trust may be creating a GP hub led them to pull out of the project.
Dr Burke is in favour of a GP hub but understands that these plans have been put on the long finger due to budget cuts. Dr Burke said there had been plans to erect Portacabins on land behind the surgery to help create additional space but this also had to be abandoned. He admitted the surgery is struggling and called on the Health Department to act urgently.
“We are trying our best to be clinicians and see to our patients and manage our staff,” said Dr Burke, adding that any spare time they have the doctors are trying to secure new premises.
A second planning application has been submitted by Clear Healthcare for a smaller doctors’ surgery at 12, 14 and 16, 18 High Street, Lurgan converting a shop unit into a surgery.