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Report from the CWaC Overview and Scrutiny Committee examining the consultation prior to proposed closure of Sandiway Surgery


The residents' action group “Save Sandiway Surgery”, represented by John Kerrigan, presented a series of short-comings in the way Danebridge had consulted with their local patients. In summary, the action group contended that:

  • Danebridge misled the patients in their letter and FAQ linking the decision to close Sandiway with the audit report carried out by the Care Quality Commission
  • They did not ask in the survey about patient choice; they only asked about current use of the surgery (which they have been running down over the years)
  • Constrained the survey timescale to less than 6 weeks, the minimum recommended and ran it over the Christmas period
  • Suppressed the public dialogue in badly organised public events
  • Did not consult in focus groups or in-community groups to assess the impact on vulnerable patient groups; young and old and disabled.
  • Misled the patients into thinking that the cost of saving Sandiway was over £1million.
  • They did not talk to other local practices to look at alternative solutions to closure of Sandiway surgery before they started the consultation
  • The Submission by Danebridge to the Clinical Commissioning Group is based on different issues than those on which they consulted their patients back in December last year.
  • 3,500 patients are going to be left 5 miles from their nearest surgery, with no reasonable access other than by car.
  • Healthcare will be less accessible than it has been for almost 100 years in Sandiway and Cuddington.

The following two documents contain the detail of the Action Group's submission:

A letter of support for their campaign from Edward Timpson MP was presented to the committee and CWaC Borough Councillors Gillian Edwards and Charles Fifield both spoke in support of the residents' campaign.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee asked questions of Danebridge on Evidence for Closure, Impact on Patients, Openness of Consultation, Impact on the community of Decision to proceed.  In reply to questions by the Committee the CCG reported that the cost of refurbishing Sandiway surgery was £250k to £300k.  Grants of up to 66% can be applied for but Danebridge have never made an application.  Issues of public transport availability had not been explored sufficiently and Healthwatch Cheshire reported that they had spoken to patients who are worried about accessibility and have had experiences of the time it will take for them to get to the surgery and get back home again with long waiting times for either buses or taxis.

After the meeting, Chair of Cuddington Parish Council, Mrs. Pat Chrimes OBE said "Sandiway surgery patients finally feel their voices have been heard. We are delighted with the decision of CWaC OSC to recommend to the CCG that they postpone their decision on the closure of Sandiway surgery. However, we were disappointed that Danebridge Medical Practice could not find one partner willing to participate and answer the Committee’s questions. This represents the same lack of engagement we experienced in the consultation and we are pleased that the Committee recognised this and came to the recommendation they did, and we would like to thank the Committee's Chair, Cllr Kate Cernik, for allowing us to present the patients' views.”

See below for Northwich Guardian's report of the meeting: