A VILLAGE in Caerphilly county borough could lose its clinic due to a lack of GPs.

Risca Surgery has proposed to close its branch in Cwmfelinfach, meaning patients will need to travel to Risca for their healthcare needs.

The surgery has struggled to replace two outgoing doctors, with vacancies being left unfilled for more than 18 months amidst staffing shortages across Wales.

Patients living in Cwmfelinfach and Ynysddu are registered in Risca but there are concerns for those who may struggle to reach appointments further down the B4591.

More than 400 people have signed a petition calling for the clinic to remain open, with support also coming from Ynysddu councillors Philippa Marsden and John Ridgewell.

The Labour councillors, along with Islwyn AM Rhianon Passmore, have written letters of objection to Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

“The closure would leave a village and its most vulnerable residents without local healthcare provision,” said Cllr Marsden.

“Some of them aren’t independent and can’t get to Risca, and then they also have to rely on a poor bus service where buses only run two an hour. It’s a double whammy.”

Cllr Ridgewell added: “I’m horrified. The facility is crucial for the community, and it would be dreadful if it closed.

“I know there’s a real problem for some people to get appointments down in Risca. It’s clearly very difficult for the surgery, and this is a universal issue, but this is such a useful and well-used facility.”

Gareth Thomas, practice manager at Risca Surgery, said surgeries across Wales and the UK are being faced with similar pressures.

“We find ourselves in an awful situation where it’s unsustainable for us to provide services in Cwmfelinfach,” he said.

“Our clinical team and GPs are going to be better utilised and more efficient at Risca, where we have a fully integrated team that will ensure an effective system of care for our patients.”

Mr Thomas claimed that there had been several empty appointment slots in Cwmfelinfach with some patients preferring to travel to Risca.

“We will still provide services to patients in Cwmfelinfach but unfortunately we need to pool our resources,” he said.

“Patients who are totally housebound will not be affected by the closure as we’ll still have GPs undertaking home visits. We will also still be supporting the nursing home in Ynysddu.”

A public consultation has now been launched by the health board asking residents how much they use the surgery and what issues would arise if it were to close.