Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Gateway Plaza GP practice in Barnsley is 'too successful'

A GP practice in Barnsley is to close because it is "too successful", the leader of the council has claimed.

The NHS has said the practice in Gateway Plaza, which has more than 1,200 patients, will close on 30 November.

Steve Houghton, council leader, said he believed it was costing too much money and had been told by NHS managers that the centre was doing too well.

NHS Barnsley refused to explain why the centre was closing.

Its chief operating officer, Steve Wainwright, said: "It is with regret that we have taken the decision to close the practice as there is no doubt it has proved a success in meeting patient demand for GP services.

'Too much money'

"Despite this, we must commission local services to meet the needs of Barnsley people and I am satisfied that existing GP practices and the out of hours service are suitable for this purpose."

Mr Houghton, leader of the Labour authority, said he was "shocked" by the decision.

He added: "We asked why the centre was closing and the reasons we got back was it has been too successful and I suppose costing too much money.

"Health services are crucially important in Barnsley. As you know we don't have the best health statistics in the country and people have really used this."

A walk-in centre at the practice was opened in July 2009 to reduce workload pressures from the nearby accident and emergency department.

However, after an audit showed the walk-in centre had not reduced patient numbers at the hospital, it closed in October last year.

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