PATIENTS are facing a long trip to see their doctor or a nurse face-to-face as a local health centre remains closed.

People in Blackrod are having to travel to Westhoughton and beyond as Blackrod Surgery, part of the Unsworth Group Practice, remains closed to patients.

Patients have also recently been notified that the practice will remain closed for some time.

One Blackrod resident, who visited the health centre frequently, said people in the area feel that they are being treated as “second class citizens” by the system, with no priority for residents.

He pointed out that it’s a 10-mile round trip from Blackrod to Horwich which many, namely elderly residents, will struggle with as there is no direct bus route.

He said: “Surely they’ve had time to sort this out instead of a 10 mile round trip.

“A lot of people are now thinking of changing their doctors to Horwich instead as there’s a direct bus and its closer.”

Bolton’s Clinical Commissioning group said the closure is due to safety concerns.

Dr Stephen Liversedge, Bolton CCG’s clinical director of primary care and health improvement, said: “The safety of patients and staff at our GP practices is paramount.

“Unsworth Group Practice took the decision to close its Blackrod Surgery because of concerns that it would be unable to maintain adequate social distancing during coronavirus due to the restricted size of the waiting room and that it shares the building with other services.

“For the small number of Blackrod patients who do need to attend a surgery in person, face-to-face appointments are being offered at the practice’s Westhoughton site. Should a patient be unable to attend, a home visit will be offered.”