OVER one hundred Uley residents attended a vigil on Saturday to protest against the planned closure of the village surgery and pharmacy.

The 10-minute ‘Save our Surgery’ event took place outside the Cam and Uley Family Practice surgery at 42 The Street, and was followed by short speeches from Cllr Martin Pearcy, the district councillor for Coaley, Uley and Nympsfield, and Cllr Melanie Paraskeva, chair of Uley Parish Council.

Cllr Pearcy said he was delighted by the turnout, which showed the strength of public feeling about the plans. He told the crowd: “We are here to send a clear message that for the people of Uley, Nympsfield and Coaley this surgery is an essential service, particularly for those who are vulnerable, elderly or on low incomes who have no transport. It is loved and needed; please don’t close it down.”

He emphasised that the bus service is unreliable and infrequent, taxis can cost £22 for a round trip to Cam and that cycling isn’t an option because the roads aren’t safe for cyclists. “These journeys will increase congestion and pollution,” he said, “and where are people supposed to park in Cam when they get there?”

Cllr Paraskeva told the demonstration: “We’re a thriving community, blessed to live here. We have benefited hugely from local facilities like the playing fields, arts centre, allotments, playgroup, school, village hall, pub, community-run shop, church, and woods to walk in. Most importantly, the reason people feel safe and secure here is the presence of our surgery and dispensary, which are the cornerstone of village life and which help us stay well. Having a surgery from our wonderful and beloved NHS is something we truly value and that perhaps we have taken for granted. When we heard the news (of the threatened closure) we were shaken; we felt like the rug was being pulled from under our feet.”

She said the surgery managers are now in talks with the NHS about whether the building can be brought up to standard so that the village can keep its surgery and dispensary. “We wait with bated breath, we have everything crossed,” she said.

Residents have until noon on September 17 to respond to the public consultation via bit.ly/3yVoBua.

They can also email becky.parish@nhs.net, who is part of the group that will make the final decision on whether to close the surgery.