OUT OF HOURS GP services are to close in Stanhope and Barnard Castle

A consultation decided that services in rural county Durham are underused and over staffed

The changes are to save money but also provide a better service in places that need it the most.

As a result of a consultation on Urgent care in 2016 nine 'care hubs' across the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield were created that provided additional evening and weekend primary care appointments.

A review found the clinics under used with issues like too many staff and not enough patients

Consultation between December 2017 and August 2018 found that patients who used primary care services attended the hubs after 6pm and at weekends and enjoyed easier access, a better service and had a positive of using NHS111.

Most were prepared to travel further to these hubs, patients will be able to book transport through Help To Health, a volunteer driving service.

In Durham Dales, a 60% majority of respondents opposed their proposal, 21%

supported their proposal and 19% were unsure or did not know.

Weekday opening times, 73% of Durham Dales respondents preferred the Bishop Auckland 12noon to 8pm.

Durham Dales responses was the talking point of the consultation. With only 32% of the DDES

population, Durham Dales accounted for 50% of all responses and 65% of all

comments in this consultation. The high response shows that impact of the proposals is something residents.

Councillor Anita Savoury said: "Over recent years there has been many changes to health services in Weardale, once again changes are afoot, this is an extremely worrying time for residents, it is difficult for them to keep up with ever changing facilities. These changes need to be highlighted to keep residents well informed of who they need to call if they become ill. Another factor which always arises in Weardale is transport we are a rural location with many isolated properties and we have no public transport on Sundays it is essential Weardale get the services it requires."

Results of the consultation are as follows

Services in Weardale will reduce to one site at Bishop Auckland Hospital and will be operating weekdays between 12noon and

8pm and weekends between 10am and 2pm. This means the closure of the services at Stanhope and Barnard Castle

Services in the Easington area will reduce to two sites at Peterlee and Seaham operating at weekends between 10am and

2pm and one site at Peterlee operating between 12noon and 8pm weekdays.

Services are to reduce to two sites at Spennymoor and Newton Aycliffe operating weekday evenings

between 6pm and 8pm and retain three sites at Sedgefield, Spennymoor and Newton

Aycliffe operating at weekends between 10am and 2pm.