‘Keeping the surgery open was a fantastic result and highlights what can be achieved when our community works together’

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle cuts the ribbon at Maddock Way surgery’s formal reopening

Brandon Estate’s GP surgery on Maddock Way officially reopened last week after a campaign to save it from closure.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle, who had lobbied to keep it open, was in attendance at the formal ribbon cutting.

In 2019 we reported that Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group had decided to shut the practice down after the retirement of GP Dr Sinha, believing no providers would bid to take over a comparatively small site and patient list; potentially saving £21,000 a year.

The decision had been taken despite the fact one of the nearest alternative surgeries, run by Nexus, was in special measures at the time, following a Care Quality Commission report. The CCG had argued keeping the site open was no longer financially viable.

Maddock Way had just over 3,000 registered patients and was rated ‘good’ by the watchdog.

A petition to save it was signed by thousands from the Walworth estate and surrounding area, a campaign led by receptionist Yvonne Arnould, who received backing from Coyle and ward councillors James Coldwell, Eleanor Kerslake and Alice Macdonald.

At a packed public meeting held at Rachel Leigh Community Hall in December 2019, one heckler had shouted “it’s social cleansing” while representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group attempted to reassure them, while another said: “Why are they building a new one at Manor Place and not keeping this one open?

“Because they want to build luxury flats and a new medical centre for posh people”.

Following the outcry, Penrose Surgery agreed to take over Maddock Way and, after a full refurbishment, the surgery finally reopened on July 9 with Neil Coyle attending the formal ribbon cutting while a pop-up vaccination clinic also took place.

Coyle praised the campaign to save the practice, saying: “It was absolutely brilliant to re-open the Maddock Way surgery after successfully campaigning with Yvonne, local people, and Labour councillors to keep services at this site when it faced closure last year.

“Keeping the surgery open was a fantastic result and highlights what can be achieved when our community works together.

“After a year and half of restrictions it was also great to see people at my own pop-up ‘advice surgery’ alongside local councillors.

“I have missed face to face contact, so it was wonderful to spend the time catching up with people, celebrating the community success, and picking up issues to raise on their behalf.”