The future of Hartlepool GP practices that were at risk of closure two years ago are once again under the microscope.
Local health bosses are reviewing how GP services at Fens Medical Centre, Hartfields Medical Practice and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre will be delivered from next April.
In 2014, NHS England proposed to axe Hartfields Medical Practice and merge the Fens and Wynyard Road medical centres, prompting fears the smaller Fens practice would close.
All three were granted an extension after hundreds of people including patients, councillors and surgery staff objected.
The current contracts for the three centres, which all opened in 2009, are due to expire at the end of March next year.
Patients are being encouraged to complete a questionnaire and attend drop-in sessions as health bosses draw up fresh proposals which could mean some patients having to travel further for certain services.
This is the first step towards deciding how services might be deliveredHartlepool and Stockton clinical commissioning group
Commissioners said: “NHS Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, working with NHS England, is now looking at how services can be provided in the future.
“A survey was carried out on all three practices in 2014, and the views of patients are being sought to find out whether views have changed over the last two years.
“This is the first step towards deciding how services might be delivered, to understand the views of as many patients as possible and to develop plans for services which continue to meet local needs.
“This will be followed by a formal consultation over the summer.”
The CCG said on its website that patients will continue to receive a service from a doctor locally.
It adds: “There will be no change to the range of services patients receive, although there may be a change to where patients attend and the times they can see their doctor or nurse.”
Fens and Rossmere councillors Alan Clark and Jim Lindridge say it is important patients take part in the process.
Coun Clark said: “Letters sent to patients will have a survey which we strongly encourage all patients to complete and return, to ensure their voices are heard and views taken into consideration.”
They are also encouraging patents to attend one of the three drop-in sessions.
They are at Throston Youth Project (Formerly Boys Welfare Centre), Wiltshire Way, Hartlepool, on Wednesday June 22, at 5.30pm–6.30pm; Rossmere Youth Centre, Rossmere Way, on Monday, June 27, at 10am-11am; and Owton Manor Community Centre, Wynyard Road, on Thursday, June 30, at 6pm-7pm.
The survey contains 23 questions and asks for patients views on issues such as journey times, preferred opening times, and how important it is for them to see the same GP or nurse.
It must be returned by June 30 or can be completed online at http://www.hartlepoolandstocktonccg.nhs.uk/hart-fens-wynyard-road-project-say