A much-loved and ‘crucial hub of the community’ – Manningham Medical Practice on Lumb Lane in Bradford - has an uncertain future after its five-year contract has come to an end.
Hundreds of people – young and old - turned up outside the surgery on Thursday 2nd June with colourful placards and banners in protest of the closure.
The contract, held by Local Care Direct, will now be handed over to Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who will decide on the fate of the practice, which has nearly 4,000 registered patients.
Mr Jitendra Gupta, whose late sister Urmila Gupta opened the surgery in the early 1970s, said: “[Urmila] was the only Asian doctor at the time and she ran the practice for 36 years until 2006. It was a real family-owned place.”
He continued: “After that, this contract was passed onto Local Care Direct on behalf of CCG. Instead of extending the contract, they’re trying to close it down. We had a meeting with them two weeks ago and now the local community are petitioning against this. There will be an appeal on the 14th July at City Hall.”
Mr Ansari, 49, has been a patient at the surgery for many years.
He said: “I have been living here all my life. Manningham Medical Practice is a vital part of the community. If we get rid of it, there’ll be nothing in the area.
“We’re like a big unit. We treat everyone like a family. To lose it would be a real shame. It’s more like a community centre, everyone loves coming here.”
The patients have started up a petition which has had the expected response, i.e. they want the practice to stay open.
“We want to show the council that they’ve got it wrong. We want to keep it open for generations to come,” said Mr Ansari.
Mr Gupta added: “There is a very strong feeling that we don’t want to go anywhere else, and where do you put thousands of extra patients? Also, there are more houses being built up the road so there’s going to be even more need for a practice here.”
A spokesman for the CCG said there are 15 practices within a mile of Manningham Medical Practice - and that all of them have open lists.
But for the people who have built up trust with the Lumb Lane practice, spaces at new surgeries will be little consolation.
Mr Ansari noted: “It’s not fair on the disabled or elderly who will have to travel further to see a doctor. Something has to be done.”