A Dales GP practice has responded to concerns about its future by again stressing that it will not be closing.
The Central Dales Practice, which has branches in Hawes and Aysgarth, has issued a statement after saying there were rumours circulating that it was shutting.
Patients have also expressed concern about a decision to stop running open access surgeries, which patients could attend in the knowledge they would be seen by a doctor the same day.
In the response, the practice confirms that open access clinics will not be returning.
It states: “While the worst of the pandemic is hopefully behind us, we still want to maintain some social distancing in our surgeries in order to reassure and protect those most at risk, but we cannot do that with open access clinics, so we will not be reintroducing them.
“It’s worth noting that we have not received complaints about the withdrawal of these clinics.”
The practice has pointed out that prior to Covid, they were one of only a handful in North Yorkshire which ran open access clinics.
The practice has also stated that the current telephone triage model was working well and was helping staff deal with the “enormous demand” they were faced with.
This demand has seen almost a 25 per cent increase in demand between June 2020 and June 2021, with this trend continuing into 2022.
“Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” the practice added.
On staffing, managers confirmed that Dr Scott would be leaving at the end of September but they were recruiting to fill the post.
The statement added: “The practice has plans in place to utilise locum cover as well as additional advanced nurse practitioner support, should the need arise.
“It’s worth reiterating, we do not have any staffing issues at this present time and we have cover arrangements in place for when a GP or advanced nurse practitioner is on annual leave.
“Contrary to some of the rumours we’ve heard, we are certainly not closing.”
Managers said that “tackling this misinformation” had also taken a toll on staff morale “at a time when we’re incredibly busy and suffering physically and mentally from the fatigue of Covid and the responsibility we took on to get vaccinations into people’s arms in the Upper Dales”.
The statement added: “It’s maybe easy to forget, but we’re patients too.
“We’re human. And sometimes when we don’t feel at our best, some of the gossip and speculation we hear weighs heavier on our shoulders than might ordinarily be the case.
“We wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the rumours that have been circulating and give you the facts, in our own words, unfiltered by the media or other outside influences.”
To read the statement in full, click here.