A patients’ group in Shropshire is looking at buying its local GP surgery building, to save it from closure and make it more attractive to new doctors.
Last year, patients at Brown Clee Medical Practice, which serves around 4,000 people in Ditton Priors, were told that the three GPs at the surgery are all planning to retire in the next five years.
The group came up with the idea of buying the surgery so that it can attract new GPs more easily.
Tina Ranson, who chairs the group, told Pulse that as one of the partners is planning to retire in December, the patients are now looking at options to buy the building through a community ownership scheme or through private investment.
Ms Ranson said: ‘Last year, the senior partner came to our meeting – we have a very good working relationship with the practice – and told us that the partners wanted to retire soon and had been thinking about how to go about the future.
‘GPs are in short supply and unlikely to want to buy the building, and that could be an obstacle to finding new doctors for our rural area.
‘We went away and thought about it, and formed a group of people who were interested in helping.
‘There was a lot to think about, it’s really not that simple and we are currently considering which route to go down.
‘There are also legal considerations that come with buying a property, and things we need to get resolved first.’
Ms Ranson said that there was a lot of community support for the initiative. She added: ‘There is a lot of love for that practice – more than 300 patients came to our last meeting and we had people offering free accommodation to new GPs wanting to move to the area.
‘Working in a rural environment is challenging in its own way, but the GPs here are so appreciated and it’s a very happy place to live. Our first priority is to get new GPs.’
Last year, the practice’s patients donated money to buy outdoor seating for staff at the surgery and an accessible armchair for the waiting room, as an opportunity ‘to express their gratitude for the care we had all received during the Covid pandemic’.