THE closure of Nythe Surgery could leave elderly patients stranded and unable to access vital care, it is feared.

It was recently announced that the Nythe branch of Victoria Cross Surgery is to close at the end of March following the merger of two health centres.

Victoria Cross Surgery and Eldene Health Centre will on Saturday, March 31 become one GP practice.

The merger will see the Nythe branch close and services for those patients transfer to Eldene Health Centre.

But service users and others are worried that the 1.2 miles between the Nythe and Eldene surgeries will be too much for elderly people who live in the Covingham area and do not drive and who are not served by public transport, which doesn’t operate along the route.

Barrie Jennings, a Stratton St Margaret Parish Councillor, said: “A lot of the people who use Nythe Surgery are elderly – indeed, there is quite a concentration of elderly people in Nythe, Covingham and Coleview.

“What they are being asked to do is travel over a mile to the new surgery, but many of them don’t drive and there is no transport that goes down that way.”

Health bosses at Victoria Cross Surgery have assured patients currently registered with both practices that they will be able to continue to access care.

But Coun Jennings has suggested that this is problematic if the patients cannot get to Eldene Health Centre in the first place.

“One lady was particularly alarmed when she heard about the arrangements,” he said. “I sincerely hope this doesn’t lead to anyone being denied medical care.”

He has called on the town’s transport providers to ensure there is a service that would mean patients would not have to rely on taxis or relatives.

Alex Chutter, general manager of Thamesdown Transport, has looked at ways the firm can help, but admitted it won’t be “an easy fix”.

He said: “With our current review about to come into effect, I would be reluctant to make further changes right now, but I will give very careful consideration to this suggestion ahead of our next review.”

He said that extending the existing route would be”unattractive” due to increased journey times.