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Cross Hills GP surgery criticised for missing podiatry debate
Doctors were rapped for failing to turn up to discuss the future of foot care services in South Craven.
Medics at Cross Hills Group Practice were absent from the last meeting of Craven area committee despite being invited, members were told.
They have been under fire for failing to re-introduce a podiatry service which was axed about six years ago. Patients now have to travel to Skipton for treatment.
Last December, the doctors were invited to attend the January meeting of Craven Area Committee to discuss the possibility of setting up a service in the expanded health centre.
But they failed to appear to debate the issue with representatives from Harrogate and District Foundation Trust and Dr Colin Renwick, who is the new chairman of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commis-sioning Group, which starts its work in April.
County and district councillor Philip Barrett said: “I was very pleased that the foundation trust representatives attended the meeting. It was very helpful that they explained the issues regarding the podiatry service from their perspective.
“However, I was most disappointed the Cross Hills Group Practice declined the invitation to attend. A written update didn't materialise either.
“Bearing in mind there are around 650 of the practice's patients affected, the vast majority being elderly, it was particularly disappointing the group practice wasn't prepared to send a representative."
Members heard from voluntary sector representative Roger Nicholson, who has been spearheading the re-introduction of the service for more than a year.
He said there was a chance to set up a service in the former caretaker’s bungalow at South Craven School which would come on the market as part of the school’s new build programme.
“I believe pressure must be put on the doctors to be more proactive to ensure we have a service,” he said.
Mr Renwick said there were about 600 people needing podiatry services in South Craven.
“That number of people would need space for about four days a week and if that’s not possible then some people would have to continue travelling to Skipton which would not be satisfactory.”
“It seems to have been pushed under the carpet. I will take this to the executive board and get some feedback,” he pledged.
A spokeswoman for the health centre said the new Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Commissioning group would be the new commissioner and have responsibility for service from April 2013.
“They can therefore be expected to look at the issue of community podiatry as well as other services being transferred to them.
“As previously stated, we do not have a spare dedicated room for the whole of the period of time required by the podiatry service to be able to accommodate it in Cross Hills.”