Berkshire

Group of GPs to take over Caversham surgery

A group of GPs has been chosen to take over a Berkshire surgery.

Specialist Health Services is to take over Priory Avenue Practice in Caversham on 1 May - and has plans to open it seven days a week.

The Bracknell-based firm was chosen from six bidders including private companies by NHS Berkshire.

It follows the presentation of a 700-signature petition against the surgery being taken over by a big private firm to health officials.

The petition was presented by Labour candidate for Reading East, Matt Rodda.

He said: "This is a real victory for local people who were deeply concerned about the future of a valued local service and who clearly wanted it to be run in the familiar way by GPs working with their community."

'Best possible access'

Now its 8,200 patients will have access to services daily, from the end of July.

Conservative Reading East MP Rob Wilson accused the Labour party of "scaremongering" about the privatisation of GP services in the town.

He added: "What matters is that free NHS GP services for local people living near Priory Avenue have been secured, and are going to get even better.

"It is shameful that the Labour party candidate in Reading East has behaved in an appalling manner that frightened local elderly residents."

New GPs are to be recruited and the surgery has said patients can expect to be seen within 48 hours.

Bernard Dominic, chairman of Priory Avenue Patient Participation Group, said: "Specialist Health Services made it clear that they put patients first and are looking, not only to provide the same services we currently get, but also greater access."

David Buckle, medical director at NHS Berkshire said the firm proved it could provide the "best possible access" for patients.

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