Campaigners were celebrating this week after the proposed closure of a village GP surgery was staved off again – this time due to the coronavirus crisis.

Riversdale Surgery in Wylam was due to close at the beginning of April, with the GP who owned the building set to retire and sell the premises.

In February, the decision to close the practice was deferred by Northumberland Clinical Commissioning group, due to a lack of proper consultation with residents.

And on Wednesday, the decision was put on hold again by the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland CCG said: “The committee heard how Covid-19 is impacting all GP practices. Acknowledging these unprecedented times, the PCCC decided to further delay the decision regarding Riversdale Surgery’s relocation.

“It was agreed that it is not the right time to make an important permanent decision.”

The deferral was welcomed by groups in the village.

Jos Joures, chairman of Wylam Parish Council, said: “We support any decision the NHS makes to provide good quality care at this time of crisis.

“Until Covid-19 arrived, we were having very constructive conversations with the CCG. We look forward to continuing those conversations at an appropriate time.”

The closure would see services transferred to Oaklands Medical Centre in Prudhoe, but the Wylam Surgeries User Group was concerned elderly patients would struggle to travel the three-mile distance, due to poor public transport.

Tony Pierre, a member of the group, said: “We welcome the decision.

“We hoped that it would stay open for a long enough period so we could continue our discussions with the CCG, with a view to maintaining some provision in the village.”

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