A campaign has been launched to save a village GP surgery after plans to permanently close it and relocate patients were revealed.

The Tolsey Surgery, on Sherston High Street, has been the subject of a proposal to close the practice and relocate patients and staff several miles away to the primary care centre in Malmesbury.

These plans come after over a decade’s worth of work by Sherston Parish Council, the practice, and Wiltshire Council, to get approval for a newly built surgery in the village which would be funded by a new housing development.

The proposal, which was put forward by the local integrated care board, sparked fury and a campaign to save the surgery has now been launched.

A joint statement from the chair of Sherston Parish Council Councillor Tanya Burgess, Wiltshire Councillor Martin Smith, and Dr Simon Watkins of the Tolsey Surgery, vowed to “come together to fight this decision and protect our local surgery.”

Cllr Smith said: “We need the surgery to stay here, and we’re extremely upset that they’ve ignored community input into the proposal.

“We’ve got a campaign underway to try and reverse their approach, 3,500 patients use the surgery and there is a dispensing pharmacy.

“The NHS’s main priority for primary care is to bring healthcare closer to home so this proposal is complete madness.”

Swindon Advertiser: The Tolsey SurgeryThe Tolsey Surgery (Image: Google Maps)The parish council was left shocked by the plans which they believe are unpopular and “unsustainable.”

Councillors are extremely concerned about the prospect of vulnerable and elderly patients, or those without access to a car, being forced to travel as far as 12 miles to see a GP.

Cllr Smith added: “Some patients will have to travel about half an hour in the car on a good day, and that’s assuming you have a car and are fit enough to drive it, which isn’t the case for many people.”

Cllr Burgess agreed: “We do have an ageing population and some of them just can’t get to Malmesbury, we just don’t think this is sustainable and the service will deteriorate beyond recognition.

“There’s only two buses a day so I don’t know what they’re expecting patients to do.”

There are also fears the plans would lead to overcrowding at the Malmesbury Primary Care Centre, which would receive a large influx of services and patients.

“The building in Malmesbury would have to be extended to accommodate these patients”, said Cllr Smith.

“They’re going to have to deal with thousands of additional patients coming in.”

The Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board insisted that the plans are currently still in a draft format and will require further scrutiny before a final decision is made.

A spokesperson said: “In recent years, practices up and down the country, including those in Wiltshire, have taken part in a national exercise to assess how to get the most out of existing primary care buildings, both now and in the future, when local populations are expected to grow.

“The findings of this work are currently in a draft format, and are being used as a starting point for further discussions about ways in which local primary care can become better integrated with other community-based services.

“As such, proposals linked to specific practices will require further scrutiny before any firm decision can be made, with all draft recommendations needing to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, and in a way that takes into account local factors, such as population size, transport options and overall accessibility.”

The draft plan is subject to a feasibility study and Sherston Parish Council have urged residents to voice any opposition to the plans by writing to the Tolsey Surgery at Bswicb.tolseysurgery@nhs.net or to local MP James Gray.