Prescription for surgery’s return

Pharmacist Ash Mohindra with customers including Jim Bithell, with guide dog Quince, and copies of the petition to bring back a doctors' surgery to the area.
Pharmacist Ash Mohindra with customers including Jim Bithell, with guide dog Quince, and copies of the petition to bring back a doctors' surgery to the area.
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HUNDREDS of frustrated patients have signed a petition in the hope it will provide the prescription to bring back doctors’ surgery facilities closer to their homes.

Since the closure of St Annes’ Derbe Road Surgery 15 months ago, residents on the Fairhaven side of town have faced a trip to either St Annes centre, Albany Road, Ansdell or Lytham to visit a surgery – all involving a costly taxi ride for those without transport.

Now, some have decided enough is enough – and a pharmacist close to the former surgery has offered rooms within his premises to be used as a part-time surgery free of charge.

Ash Mohindra of the Alexandria Pharmacy on Alexandria Drive said he was already in discussions with a St Annes practice which would be willing to make doctors available for the part-time surgery if the move can be given the go-ahead by North Lancashire Primary Care Trust.

“The fact that hundreds of residents have signed the petition in a matter of just a few weeks shows the strength of feeling in the area,” said Mr Mohindra.

“It is some time now since the Derbe Road Surgery closed but people I speak to are not finding the alternative facilities offered any easier to get to and want a surgery closer to their homes.

“We started the petition after being approached by customers who have had months of forking out taxi fares and having to find other ways of getting to their doctors.”

Jim Bithell, of Lightburne Avenue, was a patient of Derbe Road Surgery for almost 30 years. He is registered blind and has to be driven to St Annes Health Centre in Durham Avenue to consult a doctor.

“I fully support the idea of having a surgery within the pharmacy and it’s clear that hundreds more people agree,” he said.

Derbe Road Surgery closed following the resignation of long-time sole practitioner Dr Neil Curzon and patients were offered the chance to be re-registered with Ansdell Medical Centre or find their own alternative. The surgery premises are still up for sale.

Up to the early 1990s, the practice occupied premises further down Derbe Road adjacent to the Alexandria Pharmacy. “If we can accommodate doctors here it will be like coming full circle, “ said Mr Mohindra, who has run the pharmacy for 24 years.