A DOCTOR’S surgery has been given a reprieve by a local health centre.

Hundreds of patients had been in fear of losing the services of the Rishton doctor’s surgery which had seen Dr Kailash Agarwal at the helm for decades.

Upon his retirement, the future of the practice had been thrown into doubt.

Letters have been sent to all 1,600 patients at the High Street Surgery informing them they will not need to travel out of town for appointments.

Doctors at Great Harwood’s health centre are to step into the breach, filling in at the High Street Surgery on a rota basis.

One of the GPs standing in for the long­standing family doctor is Rishton doctor Rob Grayson, who was Dr Agarwal’s patient from the age of eight.

Dr Grayson’s father and local councillor Harry Grayson said the community was relieved to hear of the arrangement.

He said: “It is a very sad day, because Dr Agarwal practised medicine in Rishton for over 30 years but the fact of life is that doctors do retire. The six GPs from Great Harwood, Rob is one of them, will be taking turns on a rota to be at the practice one day at a time.

“It’s very important that the doctors are able to come to Rishton instead of sending the patients to Great Harwood because some people struggle to get out and about.

“Dr Agarwal was my children’s doctor for many years so it is the end of an era for his patients in Rishton.”

Plans are now underway to merge management of the Rishton High Street Surgery with the nearby Great Harwood Health Centre.

Great Harwood Medical Group provides care to nearly 7,000 patients in Rishton, Great Harwood and Clayton­le­Moors at the new purpose built Health Centre.