A DOCTORS’ surgery that has not been able to provide GP sessions since April 2020 will remain open despite an application to close it.

Earlier this year, the Coach and Horses GP Surgery in St Clears put an application in to Hywel Dda Health Board to close their Laugharne branch.

They said the village surgery had been unable to keep its core workforce and has not been able to provide GP since April 2020.

The partners wanted to close the branch to allow them to centralise their staff and services to support the future sustainability of the St Clears practice.

However, Hywel Dda University Health Board has declined that application to close the practice.

This means that the branch surgery in Laugharne will remain open, but the Health Board will work with the Coach and Horses Practice to consider the services which can operate out of Laugharne and those services which will continue to be provided from the main practice site at St Clears.

The decision follows months of public engagement with patients in Laugharne which included two drop-in events and an extension of the engagement period in order to ensure as many voices as possible could be heard.

Patients were also able to make their opinions known by completing a questionnaire, by telephone, email, in writing or online.

The Coach and Horses put forward their case for closure before an open session of the Branch Closure Panel, set up to consider the closure application.

The main reasons for the application to close the Laugharne Branch Surgery included concerns about workforce, staffing the branch surgery, and protecting the provision of general medical services in the area.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s director of primary care, community and long-term care, Jill Paterson, said: “We appreciate that the Coach and Horses GP Practice has raised their concerns about challenges including workforce and the financial pressures of maintaining two sites.

“However, following extensive local engagement and working closely with Llais, the statutory body in Wales that represents the interest of patients and the public, the health board decided to decline the closure application at this point in time.

“The public engagement exercise showed concerns about care being moved further from home, the ease of access to health services for the local community along with worries about transport and parking, appointment capacity at St Clears and the detrimental environmental impact.

“We will be working closely with the Coach and Horses Practice to help support them in the delivery of GP healthcare services into the future.”

Further details about how the decision was reached can be seen on the Hywel Dda University Health Board website: Board agenda and papers 28 March 2024 - Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales).