PLANS to relocate a village’s GP surgery have been put on hold following a damning indictment of an NHS group’s consultation with the local community.

Wylam’s Riversdale Surgery is due to close at the end of April, following the retirement of the GP who owns the building and is planning to sell it.

As a result, partners at the practice revealed plans to transfer services three miles away, to Oaklands Medical Centre in Prudhoe.

The plan received backing from the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last month, but at Monday’s meeting of Wylam Parish Council, residents and councillors alike blasted the group’s consultation exercise.

Many residents claimed they had not been consulted, with the CCG only allocating six days this month to meet with community groups.

The Wylam GP Surgeries Users Group pointed out that many residents no longer drove due to their age, and poor public transport links to Prudhoe would make it difficult for many villagers to access the service.

The parish council agreed to write to the CCG, threatening a judicial review unless a proper consultation to mitigate the impact of the move was carried out with residents.

The council’s chairman, Coun. Jos Joures, said: “I am 100 per cent certain I have not been consulted.

“We do have the option of starting a judicial review. It shows an intent that we are not happy with the process.

“As an exercise in community engagement, it has been absolutely appalling.

“I think the surgery will go, but the question is about, have they thought about anything to mitigate it? We can’t force them to keep it open, but we can say that we’ve to think about primary health care.”

At the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, officials agreed to consult residents further before rubber-stamping the move.

The CCG’s chief operating officer, Siobhan Brown, said: “My view today is that we’re not in a position to make a decision.

“I am requesting that we go away and do a full assessment on travel and the people involved in the services, including the elderly and the disabled.”

The group agreed to postpone the decision until residents had been consulted via drop-in events which will take place next week.

However, if the issue is not resolved by the time the GP retires, the services will still move to Prudhoe as a contingency measure.