PLANS to merge two GP surgeries and “move 4,000 patients” has been branded rushed and ill-thought out by a furious council candidate.

Verina Weaver, Conservative candidate for Eastwood Park, has launched a petition against the Eastwood Group Practice’s plans to close the surgery at 346 Rayleigh Road, Eastwood, and merge it with the Kent Elms Branch at 1 Rayleigh Road, Eastwood.

Since a consultation was launched last week, concerns have been raised about parking at the Kent Elms Branch, the impact on patients attempting to book appointments and the impact on elderly residents who may not drive.

The Eastwood Group Practice, which also runs a surgery in Eastwood Road North, has insisted no final decision has been made.

Mrs Weaver said: “It all feels rushed and ill-thought out. The idea is to take and move a minimum of 4,000 patients from somewhere they are happy and comfortable, and where many have been for decades.

“Eastwood Park has a demographic of being quite elderly, and GP surgeries are a lifeline to many, especially to know there is one round the corner that you’ve been going to for 30 years.

“The problem with Kent Elms is the car park is very challenged. It takes people from not only the surgery, but Boots, and two nearby schools.

“Those that drive and are able bodied, may not think about driving from one site to the other, but those that can’t or will need to catch the bus, might not be able too.

“It is more than just an inconvenience; it is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of thousands in Eastwood and Leigh areas who rely on its services daily.”

The Eastwood Group Practice says if the GP surgeries move, staff will move to the other surgery as well and the group is exploring how it can offer “the most efficient and effective care”.

Mrs Weaver adds that she believes the current site should be modernised instead.

She added: “My father was a GP who always prioritised his patients’ needs above all else.We have a nice surgery already, surely it should be an idea to take it and modernise it.”

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