Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board has pledged to keep a close eye on future arrangements for General Practitioner (GP) services at Harbottle.
The surgery had closed on August 28 but a recent agreement means that Harbottle will operate as a branch surgery of The Rothbury Practice.
The new service will be for an initial period of 12 months, allowing NHS England and Northumberland CCG to carry out a detailed assessment of local primary care needs and to consult more widely on longer term options.
Following the announcement, NHS England have worked with NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group so that patients could access alternative GP services.
And members of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board have been working closely with partners on solutions and the potential return of GP services to the village.
Councillor Scott Dickinson, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board in Northumberland, said: “We
have worked closely with the residents, interest groups and partners to find a long-term solution to this issue.
“This 12 month reprieve is welcomed by me and the board but it is vital NHS England work on a sustainable outcome for the residents and patients who live in some of our most remote areas.
“I’ve asked the health and wellbeing board receive an update in six months to ensure there is a good level of scrutiny, accountability and transparency throughout this process.”
Rothbury ward councillor Steven Bridgett said: “I am pleased we have had the opportunity to discuss again the issues around the closure of the Harbottle Practice.
“Although I still have several reservations and concerns we have now received a commitment from NHS England to carry out a full consultation when they look to review the situation over the next 12 months.
“I would like to thank Cllr Dickinson for giving us the opportunity to question NHS England and look forward to the issue coming back to the Health and Wellbeing board in 6 months’ time.”
Cllr Dickinson went on to say that: "Cllr Bridgett was quick to respond, bring the concerns of Harbottle residents to the attention of all concerned, I think he should be commended for his efforts. I am keen that communication is improved with the public and that NHS England learn from the initial mistakes. Cllr Bridgett will play a part with me in the future to ensure this reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Harbottle residents."