St Davids: UK's smallest city fights to save GP surgery from closure

The UK's smallest city is fighting to save its only GP surgery from closure.

St Davids in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has a population of 1,751, according to the most recent census.

The community was granted city status in 1994 at the request of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The local surgery's only full-time GP will hand back the General Medical Services contract at the end of October and campaigners say they face having to travel a number of miles to nearby surgeries.

The nearest surgery is around three-and-a-half miles away in the village of Solva, but residents say it wouldn't be big enough to absorb the patients registered at St Davids surgery.

A consultation event is taking place on Friday, with representatives of Hywel Dda University Health Board hearing the views of local residents.

John Jeremy is a councillor on St Davids City Council and spokesperson for the Save St Davids Surgery campaign.

"The obvious answer is that the health board at this point take over the running of St Davids and then spend the next year, couple of years, sorting out a peninsula surgery," he told Sky News.

"And the peninsula surgery might be on two sites, or it might be on a brand new site, depending on if they've got any pennies."

'Great shock'

"They're certainly open to discussion. We've had no problem whatsoever in contacting them... it's whether they do this change," Cllr Jeremy said.

He said the announcement had come as a "great shock" to everyone, including the health board.

"The health board really were, I suspect, taken a bit on the back foot. They just didn't expect it to come."

The last bank in St Davids also closed its doors in November last year.

"We very nearly lost the tip. We managed to save that for a year, but only for a year. And if that goes we've got to go 15 miles," Cllr Jeremy said.

"A few years ago, they tried to take the schools away. Yes, it is to do with being out on a limb, we are miles from everywhere.

"So the obvious answer is to set up something out here that is good enough to look after us out here and then we haven't got to worry about driving X miles to wherever."

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Rhian Bond, assistant director of primary care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said it was working to find "a sustainable solution".

"We understand that any change to services can cause anxiety and we are keen to learn from patients what matters to them most about such an important service in the area," she said.

"The views of the local community and patients will be gathered before any decision is made about the long-term provision for the service."