A pensioner has been told by her GP surgery that she now has to go to a hospital for her routine 20 minute medical procedure.

86-year-old Margaret Stanger of Rockfield has been having a routine procedure every four months at Castle Gate Medical Practice for a number of years but she, and 49 others, have been told by letter that the practice does not now have the funds to continue offering the procedure.

The letter states that “as part of an ongoing review, we are unable to continue offering some services that would not normally be provided within a General Practice Surgery.”

The letter continues “This would in normal circumstances be undertaken within a hospital setting by their Gynaecology Clinic, the practice has referred you to the relevant gynaecology specialists.”

Margaret told the Beacon that this procedure had been carried out by a nurse and only took about 20 minutes: ”I calculate that this would take up an hour per year of the surgery’s time”

She contacted them who said about 50 letters had gone out to patients who underwent the same procedure.

At the moment, the practice could not confirm which hospital she and the others would need to attend.

Margaret added: “Public transport is useless and there is no bus service where I live, we are encouraged not to use our car but to walk and cycle. Now we will have to travel miles for a twenty minute treatment”.

The Beacon contacted Joe Robson, Practice Manager at Castle Gate who confirmed that they have stopped offering five medical services and had written to Nicola Prygodzicz, Chief Exec of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to inform her that they have “reluctantly made a decision regarding services that the practice has been performing over many decades that we will not be able to continue to perform because of a failure of the contract negotiations”.

The letter written by Dr Spencer Goodwin, senior partner at Castle Gate Medical Practice, went on to say: “The services that we are no longer able to provide are not part of our core General Medical Services contract and although we have invested in equipment and training over many years, we are no longer able to fund these services ourselves given the financial constraints going forward.

“These services have allowed our patients to have rapid access to diagnostic tests close to their homes and allowed our doctors to provide a fuller and more holistic approach to healthcare in a primary care setting.”

Due to budget pressures from the Senedd, the practice will no longer provide 24-hour ECG; overnight Pulse Oximetry; fitting/ changing vaginal pessaries; Spirometry and KardiaMobile interpretation.

They were providing approximately 140 Health Care Assistant, nurse and GP appointments per month for these services.

“Our patients will be referred to secondary care to have these services provided from now on. We do realise that this will only increase the workload and waiting lists within secondary care services. These services are funded in other parts of the UK in primary care, and should funding be allocated we would be happy to resume.”

Margaret’s friend Marjorie Howard at the Rickfield is in the same position as her but, as Margaret explained she struggles to drive as she has been waiting for a knee operation for four years.

“Neither of us can drive in the dark due to eye problems and the dazzle from the oncoming cars.

“We are both very upset to think that at this time in our lives, when we need some care and compassion, it is not available to us locally,” she added.