Protests rise over GP closure plan

Opposition is mounting to a plan to close the run-down Hilton Terrace GP practice in Bishopbriggs and transfer 
patients to another surgery.

A number of elderly patients living nearby have hit out at the proposal, saying the local surgery is a lifeline for them.

They are being backed by MP Jo Swinson, who believes the best option is to upgrade the building.

Bishopbriggs Councillor Billy Hendry is also against the closure plan.

At last week’s meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, a motion put forward by Councillor Hendry calling on the NHS to invest in the premises received the full support of fellow councillors.

A public consultation has begun after the GP practice partners at Hilton Terrace submitted a formal application to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to withdraw services from Hilton Terrace.

They say the building is “not fit for purpose” because of its condition.

Patients have been told they may be transferred to the main practice in Auchinairn Road, in May.

One elderly patient who has been using the surgery for decades said: “I am now in my 80s and have to attend my GP regularly.

“It is very difficult to get to the Auchinairn Road surgery. There is no direct bus route.

“I feel we are being deserted by the NHS.”

MP Jo Swinson is urging people to make their views known.

She said: “The Auchinairn practice is a considerable distance for people to travel, especially those who are elderly, disabled or have young children.

“People build up a strong and trusted relationship with their GP, so moving to a different practice is not an easy alternative.”

She added: “Whilst I understand the concerns about inadequate facilities at the current practice, especially for disabled patients, surely the best option would now be to upgrade the surgery so that it can continue to serve the needs of the community.

“I urge local people to contribute their views and then East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership needs to listen to what people say and act accordingly.”

Councillor Hendry’s motion, which was seconded by Councillor Ashay Ghai, called for East Dunbartonshire to strongly oppose the plan to shut the GP practice.

It called on the practice partners, East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to bring forward investment to upgrade and consolidate the premises at Hilton Terrace.

A council spokesperson said: “This council welcomes every effort to protect the provision of services which are local and accessible to all our communities, including the most vulnerable.

“This principle should apply whether these services are health-related and outwith our immediate control or local government services for which we have full responsibility.”