A RURAL medical centre in the Ribble Valley has been saved from closure after securing a deal to be taken over by East Lancashire Medical Service.

Slaidburn Health Centre was told last year it could be forced to close after the removal of key funding called the ‘Minimum Practice Income Guarantee’.

The centre, which has been on its present site since the 1970s, will now remain in the village with its future being reviewed in 12 months.

The move has safeguarded the roles of seven people and two partners at the centre and frontline services will remain the same after the official transfer of management on April 1.

The practice is currently run by GP Karan Massy, but the deal will see the centre’s contract jointly held with the East Lancashire Medical Service.

Practice manager David Massy said: “We are very pleased with this outcome and we believe that it’s the best that we could have got for the practice and the patients.

“It ensures the continuation of medical services here in Slaidburn which was in question.

“We are lucky in Slaidburn that we have been able to negotiate this deal.

“We will still lose the funding that was going to be withdrawn by NHS England but we will be in a better position to deal with that now.

“Everyone is looking forward to working with the East Lancashire Medical Service and taking on a new challenge and be part of a larger organisation.”

MP Nigel Evans said: “It’s a 12-month life line that will give everybody the chance to see if the new system is working. I’m sure the East Lancashire Medical Service will see how popular the centre is.”