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South Cumbria GP surgery saved thanks to local campaign

Askam GP surgery

The GP surgery in Askam has been officially saved.

It is aiming to open in February, serving the communities of Askam and Ireleth, following a campaign to keep it open.

Askam man Harry Barker bought the surgery on Parklands Drive, Askam from the previous GP, Dr Prakash Jain.

The building will house the new GP and the team from Duddon Valley Medical Practice, which currently has sites in Kirkby and Broughton

The news comes after many months of negotiations and appeals from a group set up by local MP Simon Fell and county councillor for Dalton North, Ben Shirley.

The pair co-chair the Save our Surgery group, which has been meeting fortnightly with the aim of reaching this goal.

The group is made up of parish, borough and county councillors from the area along with Mr Barker.

A representative of the Consortium of Cumbria and Lancashire Local Medical Committees advised the group while Kay Wilson from Duddon Valley Medical Practise also joined as the representative of the incoming GP.

Mr Barker said: “Askam needs a doctors surgery.

“As soon as Dr Jain announced he was going to be retiring I decided to make some enquiries around buying the building to keep the surgery in Askam.

“We then had to go about finding a new doctor and thankfully Dr Wilson and his team answered our call.”

Councillor Mike Cumming, Askam and Ireleth parish councillor said: “It’s been a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears but we’ve made it at last.

“The parish council has supported this project from day one. I’m delighted that the surgery will remain in Askam, as local people don’t want to be travelling to Dalton or Kirkby to see their doctor.”

Ben Shirley, Barrow borough and Cumbria County councillor and co-chair of the Save our Surgery Group said:

“I can honestly say that I’ve never lost so much sleep or carried such weight on my shoulders as I have with this project.

“So many local people have been in touch to tell me how important it is to them that we save the surgery and keep it in Askam.

“I’m delighted and extremely grateful to everyone involved. I’m looking forward to seeing the new medical practice and their team helping our local community soon.”

Mr Fell said: “Back in February, residents contacted me in dismay that their surgery faced closure after Dr Jain announced he’d be retiring in June.

“Local councillors were absolutely determined to keep the service open, and by working with them and getting the local community involved, we’ve achieved what seemed impossible.

“I couldn’t be happier that there will now be a GP with full dispensing services in Askam, so that local people can continue to see their GP in the village where they live.”

Kay Wilson, of Duddon Valley Medical Practice, said: “Our team are very excited about working in Askam.

“We have recruited and trained new staff and we’re all raring to go, to start helping our lovely patients from Askam and Ireleth.

“We look forward to welcoming them to the new surgery as soon as possible.”