A medical practice is to close because health bosses have been unable to replace a retiring doctor, prompting a furious backlash from local councillors.

Trafford councillors in Altrincham have received notification that Grove Lane Medical Practice which operates in the Timperley Health Centre will shut on September 30.

The broader health centre is not closing.

The memo is from Sara Todd, place lead for health and care integration (Trafford), and Dr Manish Prasad, associate medical director (Trafford), NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care.

It says that following the retirement of Dr D Shah, a caretaking arrangement began in which the practice was temporarily looked after by Delamere Medical Practice. This arrangement is now coming to an end.

“Our priority is the safety of patients and to ensure that they can continue to access local healthcare services in the short, and long term,” the memo says.

“With this in mind, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and neighbouring GP practices in South Trafford Primary Care Network (PCN) have worked closely together to try to find a solution to continue to provide safe patient services at the practice.”

South Trafford PCN is a collective of local practices including Barrington Medical Centre, Riddings Family Health Centre, Shay Lane Medical Centre (Patel), The Family Surgery, The Village Surgery, Timperley Health Centre (Westwood) and Grove.

The memo goes on: “All possible alternative options have been explored, but it has not been possible to find a way to provide a permanent service at the practice.

“All patients will now be safely moved to a nearby practice to their home, and we will update them when this process is complete.”

Patients were sent a letter from NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care dated Friday (August 25) confirming the practice closure.

“Staff currently employed by the practice will be supported by NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care to find alternative employment in neighbouring practices,” the memo adds.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats on Trafford council have expressed anger following the announcement.

Timperley Central representative and 20-year healthcare professional Coun Simon Lepori said: “This news will be extremely concerning for Timperley residents.  Grove Lane Practice has been a vital service in the community, and the future of the services provided by the practice now hangs in the balance.”

He said that the closure will mean that the Timperley area will now be serviced by 16 GPs, down from 20 when the practice at Grove Lane was operational.

Coun Lepori continued: “This comes at a time when GP waiting lists are spiralling out of control, the minor injuries unit at Altrincham General Hospital remains closed for the foreseeable future and people are facing record wait times for important treatments.” 

The Liberal Democrats also slammed council bosses over “poor communication” with residents.

Coun Lepori said: “There has been little to no communication over the decision to close the practice.  Residents have not been informed and the council only took the decision to inform some of the area’s elected representatives on Friday, one month before the decision to permanently close the centre comes into effect. 

 “The lead GP at Grove Lane Medical Practice retired last year.  The council has had time to deal with this appropriately.  This is a poor approach to take towards the people of Timperley, who deserve better than this poor communication and uncertainty.”

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester NHS said:  “As no one else could be found to take over the running of the practice. All patients will be automatically transferred and the letter that went out had more info and the transfer letters will have more info still.”

A Trafford council spokesperson said: “This is a matter for NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and it has written to patients at the practice to explain the situation. It will also be sending another letter shortly to let patients know what their new practice arrangements will be."