‘Protest played big role in saving GP practice’

Portadown Health Centre
Portadown Health Centre

The threat of protest played a role in securing a new GP service provider at Portadown Health Centre, according to the man leading the charge to save the Bannview Practice.

Today’s protest was called off after the health minister confirmed a new contractor would be in place from March to run the practice which had looked set for closure after its last remaining GP signed off this Friday.

Bannview patient Tony Hendron. INPT02-002

Bannview patient Tony Hendron. INPT02-002

While optimistic at the outcome, Tony Hendron, the man who led the campaign to save Bannview Practice, said he would be closely monitoring developments.

Mr Hendron said: “The only worry I have is the level of service available between now and March. I will keep a close eye on that situation.”

The ‘last GP standing’ had been Dr Heenan, however she has been off sick due to the stress of her workload in the days leading up to her departure from the practice this Friday. In the absence of any of the practice’s GPs, Bannview is being staffed by locums only.

“Most of the time it is ‘Emergency Only’ appointments,” said Mr Hendron.

“That is far from satisfactory and shouldn’t continue.”

He added: “I think the protest threat made the powers that be sit up and hurry the process up.

“I think my reasoned and detailed posts on social media made them see the true gravity of the situation if nothing had been done by next Friday.”

Mr Hendron commented: “I am optomistic that things in the practice will return to normal eventually. It would be even better if Dr Heenan could return, but that would be a decision for her.”

As to the length of time taken for a remedy, he said: “I blame the board for not listening to the doctors in the practice who have been warning for two years that this could happen.”