Willesden Green councillor Ann Hunter has welcomed the announcement that the future of the Burnley Road GP practice is secure.
The future of the surgery was placed in doubt last year when NHS Brent considered closed the practice and forcing patients to find doctors elsewhere. Patients and councillors campaigned successfully to keep the practice open.
In a letter to the local press this week Cllr Hunter, who is a member of the council’s health committee, wrote:
I am really pleased to know that Burnley Road Practice, which serves 3,000 patients as well as homeless people in Brent, has a safely assured future, now that Innovision Healthcare Ltd. has been appointed to run it, and its existing staff from 1st November.
Just over a year ago, that was not the case. NHS Brent actively considered shutting the practice and dispersing its patients. This was in response to Brent Community Services announcing they no longer wanted to run the practice.
Brent’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, of which I am vice-chair, immediately took up the issue in response to many patient complaints. A deputation of patients told us they definitely wanted the practice to stay open and for it to remain at the Willesden Centre for Health and Care in Robson Avenue.
So we requested the PCT to set up a series of meetings, which they did and they were very well attended by patients, as well as all three Willesden Green councillors. The patients conducted a very active campaign, the health committee and councillors added their voice, and the PCT agreed to an open tender for the practice.
This was one of the first campaigns I was involved in as a councillor and it is an excellent example of the power of democracy in action. The PCT, with a good bit of nudging, changed its mind after listening to the people that this decision was going to affect most strongly.
If only more decisions could work like this. It’s the users’ voice which should be given priority! Did someone mention libraries?
Cllr Ann Hunter
Liberal Democrat Councillor
Willesden Green Ward