Liberal Democrat councillors in Barnoldswick have launched a major campaign to stop medical services being withdrawn from the town.
The team has sprung into action to fight the cessation of treatments, such as wound dressings and removal of stitches, at the Barnoldswick Medical Centre in Park Road from next week.
A note has been put up in the surgery advising that certain procedures will finish next Friday and the only current alternative venue is at Colne Health Centre, out of town and five miles away.
The practice manager said “capacity issues and increased workload pressures” are behind the decision but councillors have slammed the move.
Coun. Ken Hartley, who is a strong campaigner on health issues in Barnoldswick, said: “This is outrageous. How on earth are people recovering from surgery or chronically ill elderly people going to get to Colne?
“This issue was discussed at last week’s town council meeting. I’d no idea then that the withdrawal of these services was so imminent.
“It’s not clear about who has made the decision to limit the treatment services at the Barnoldswick Surgery and the reasons for this.
“Why are the services being withdrawn before an alternative is in place?”
Barnoldswick Town Council Chairman, Coun. Claire Teall, added, “As someone who cares for elderly people, I know just how important these services are.
“It’s completely unacceptable that the service is being axed. I’m told that the treatment room at Butts Clinic was revamped last year.
“Why can’t this provide an alternative service if treatment at the surgery is no longer available? We are demanding a meeting with the appropriate parts of the NHS as a matter of urgency.
“We are aware of a possible new treatment room being created in Barnoldswick, but this could be months away.
“It’s essential that services are maintained here throughout any changes.”
The team of councillors has launched a petition against the cuts and is campaigning on social media for retention of treatment room services.
Last year, the group began a campaign to create a new health centre in Barnoldswick to replace the outdated Butts Clinic after its treatment room was deemed unfit.
In a statement, Sara Richardson, Practice Manager at Barnoldswick Medical Centre, said: “Barnoldswick Medical Centre has provided treatment room services on behalf of East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who provide treatment room services for the rest of East Lancashire, for a number of years.
“Unfortunately, due to capacity issues and increased workload pressures, from Friday 3 April 2015, Barnoldswick Medical Centre is no longer able to provide the following treatment room services: Wound care/wound dressing; ulcer care/ulcer dressings; ear syringing/ear care; removal of wound closures e.g. sutures/clips.
“East Lancashire CCG, who commissions this service, is looking into alternatives within Barnoldswick.
“We have been advised by the CCG that patients who require treatment room services will need to go to Colne Treatment Room where they have increased capacity.
“Barnoldswick Medical Centre regrets any inconvenience, and has the full support of its Patient Participation Group which represents its patients.”
When asked why Barnoldswick Clinic in The Butts could not be used straight away, a spokesman from NHS East Lancashire CCG said: “NHS East Lancashire CCG is looking at alternative provision within Barnoldswick. Short term additional capacity has been arranged at Colne Treatment room in the interim period.”