IN A fresh blow the village of Gilwern could be left without a GP’s surgery, if plans to close the Belmont practice are given the go-ahead.
In a letter to local residents, Powys Teaching Health Board said it has received an application from Crickhowell Group Practice to close the branch surgery premises at Belmont Surgery, Main Road, Gilwern with patients having to travel to the War Memorial Health Centre site in Crickhowell to see a doctor.
According to the health board the proposed closure has been brought about by the forthcoming retirement of four doctors who are the owners of the surgery premises and a lack of viable alternatives for the transfer of ownership.
The application also cites challenges in recruiting and retaining GPs across the UK.
The health board has begun a consultation period with patients of the surgery and will work in conjunction with Powys Community Health Council, Dyfed Powys Local Medical Committee, Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board as the surgery sits over the Powys border in Monmouthshire.
“The purpose of the engagement is to understand more about residents use the Belmont Branch Surgery in Gilwern to see a GP, Nurse or health care assistant, and how this proposal would affect them including any issues they would have in attending the main surgery at Beaufort Road in Crickhowell,” said PTHB
Cllr Grahame Nelmes, vice chair of Llanelly Community Council told the Chronicle that the potential loss of the surgery was difficult to face,
“While appreciating that the Crickhowell practice faces problems with staffing it is difficult to face the prospect of the loss of our surgery in Gilwern.
“Our parish had two surgeries working a full week and Saturday and now it has a larger population and the prospect of losing its remaining surgery.
“We have an elderly population many of whom find it difficult to travel to Crickhowell if they do not have someone to take them with a taxi costing up to £15 each way and public transport problematic. It is to be hoped that Powys Health Board will reflect on this,” said Cllr Nelmes
The potential loss of the surgery, is the latest blow to the village, where business owners met with MP David Davies and MS Peter Fox shortly before Christmas to renew calls for compensation they were promised to alleviate issues caused by the lengthy work on the A465 which has seen it close on countless occasions.
Businesses in the vicinity were promised financial compensation by the Welsh Government for the closures more than seven and a half years ago but have yet to see a single penny.