THE Gurnos Health Centre, in Merthyr Tydfil, will close with immediate effect as a result of health and safety concerns.
Services at the Gurnos Health Centre have been gradually reduced over the last six months but serious concerns about the fabric of the building have forced the immediate closure of the surgery.
The closure follows the receipt of a health and safety building audit report, which highlighted the poor state of repair and potential safety and infection risks to staff and patients using the building.
The inspection concluded: “The current obvious poor state of repair of the building calls into question its suitability as a healthcare facility.”
Patients will instead receive all GP services from the Morlais Medical Practice in Dowlais, or Keir Hardie Health Park.
Bernardine Rees, director of primary, community and mental healthcare at Cwm Taf Health Board, said: “It is never an easy decision to close a health centre.
“However, the poor state of repair of the health centre means it is no longer appropriate for patients to be seen and treated in Gurnos Health Centre.
“Cwm Taf Health Board has been working closely with Morlais Medical Practice to ensure extra capacity is available for patients from the Gurnos area who need to see a GP or practice nurse to ensure they are not unduly inconvenienced by the new arrangements.”
The closure will affect 1,600 patients registered with Morlais Medical Practice and Dr Padmaja Nannapaneni, who ran clinics at Gurnos Health Centre.
However, Morlais Medical Practice only provided limited GP services at Gurnos Health Centre on three mornings a week and Dr Nannapaneni stopped running GP and nurse clinics there in December 2011.
The podiatry team, which had also been based at Gurnos Health Centre, has relocated to the newly-opened £35m Keir Hardie Health Park, next door to Cyfarthfa Retail Park.
The inspection of Gurnos Health Centre revealed a series of problems, including:
• Leaking roofs throughout the building, including in a consultation area
• Mould growing on ceiling tiles
• Rot and decay to external wooden doors
• Broken light fittings
• Unsealed internal pipes
• Toilets in an “extremely” poor state of repair
Paul Worthington, chief officer of Cwm Taf Community Health Council, said: “The report clearly shows this is a very unsuitable environment for patients to be treated in.
“Anything which compromises patient care or safety in any way cannot be condoned and the community health council supports the action taken by the health board.”