Cornwall

Plea for GP written in sand by Mevagissey villagers

Campaign
Image caption Mevagissey's beauty is part of the draw, campaigners say

A Cornish fishing village has put out a plea for a new GP by writing a message on a beach.

The sole partner at the Mevagissey surgery is handing back her contract on 31 July, leaving the village with no doctor.

Campaigners said the surgery, which serves more than 5,000 patients, was a "lifeline".

NHS England has been asking local people for their views and said it was "exploring all possibilities".

Local residents started a community campaign for a replacement after NHS England said Dr Katherine James would no longer provide GP services from the end of July.

According to campaigners, Mevagissey's natural attractions are part of the draw for a would-be local GP.

To underline their message, they have spelled out "#Will you be our GP?" in sand on a nearby beach.

Image caption Posters and placards relay the message to would-be Mevagissey GPs

Jill Bayliss runs a community bus from Mevagissey, which is a tourist hot-spot in the summer.

She described the village as "lovely" and added: "So our question is, why wouldn't you like to come and live here and be our GP?"

Campaigners Mevagissey Friends of the Surgeries said the service was a lifeline for the elderly people in the area who did not have transport.

They said alternative provision in St Austell, about five miles away, was beyond the reach of those without a car because of the lack of public transport.

Image caption Campaigners spell out their message in a protest at the surgery

Prime Minister Theresa May told the area's Conservative MP Steve Double in the House of Commons that she recognised "the concerns in Mevagissey".

And she said the government was "giving additional incentives to attract trainee GPs into areas that are hard to recruit such as rural and coastal communities".

NHS England, which has been running drop-in information sessions, said it was currently "business as usual" but the "immediate priority" was to look at alternative options for patients.

It has urged patients to fill in a survey online or on paper so they can get an "accurate picture" of needs.

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