Practice saved in Cornish fishing village after patients' video campaign

A 5,000-patient GP practice in a tiny Cornish fishing village has been saved from closure after a video campaign by patients won 'world-wide attention'.

Will you be my GP? (Photo: Mevagissey campaign)
Will you be my GP? (Photo: Mevagissey campaign)

Single-handed partner Dr Kathy James handed in her notice earlier this year and her practice in Mevagissey, Cornwall was set to close on 31 July unless a replacement could be found.

But after a powerful campaign by local residents, NHS England has struck a deal with another practice 30 miles away in Camborne to take on the practice contract - with Dr James agreeing to continue to work at the Mevagissey surgery.

NHS England said the Veor Surgery in Camborne had agreed to 'take on the practice and employ more staff to support Dr James'. Three GPs identified by the patient-led campaign to save their practice could yet be employed in salaried roles.

Will you be my GP?

Local campaigners produced a video entitled 'Will you by my GP?', highlighting the attractions of their picturesque village in an effort to attract new doctors. Residents of the village spoke in the film of the impact the loss of their local surgery would have, with the nearest town - St Austell - around eight miles away.

NHS England said that along with Kernow CCG it had considered eight proposals to tackle the problem 'after it became clear that a dispersal of patients would not be possible for the local community'.

Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and NHS England’s interim medical director, said: 'A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the Mevagissey practice stays open for its 5,300 patients and it is vital that we retain and support experienced family doctors like Dr James.

'It is good to see surgeries collaborating in this way, which is exactly how we envisage practices large and small working to support each other.'

Community support

Veor surgery partner Nick Kaye - a pharmacist - said: 'When we saw the local TV coverage of the community campaign to find a GP for the surgery, we all agreed we wanted to help. The community's response was inspiring, and we are so pleased we were able to work with Dr James to keep GP services in the heart of Mevagissey.

Dr James added: 'I am really pleased I can continue caring for the patients of Mevagissey surgery. I have been overwhelmed by the support that everyone has offered and the hard work to achieve this positive outcome for the community.'

Elizabeth Meldon Smith, chair of the patient group that ran the #willyoubemyGP campaign, said: 'This is fantastic news for the community, and for all patients of Mevagissey Surgery. We are looking forward to welcoming our new partners to the practice. Thank you to everyone for their unwavering dedication to raising the profile of our wonderful village surgery.'

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