A RETIRED doctor has taken a 'last stand' to try and stop his crisis-hit GP surgery from closing by handcuffing himself to a pillar outside it.

Doctor Edwin Owen took the radical action to express his anger at the imminent closure of the Winton Health Centre in Alma Road.

The surgery, which has 10,300 registered patients, is set to close on July 31 due to a lack of funding.

The move will leave more than 20 members of staff out of work, while its patients will be reallocated to two neighbouring health centres.

Dr Owen fears those clinics won't be able to cope with the extra patients and believes this is the first step towards the health sector being privatised.

“I never wanted to end up chained outside my surgery,” the retired psychologist said.

Bournemouth Echo: Dr Edwin Owen handcuffs himself to Winton Health Centre in BournemouthDr Edwin Owen handcuffs himself to Winton Health Centre in Bournemouth (Image: Max Willcock/BNPS)

“The whole situation has been a disaster and I wish I hadn't needed to protest the closure like I did. I just wanted to take a final last stand to show that not everybody had given up on the surgery.

“The fight is only over when it has closed down, I hope there is some way this can be turned around.

“I have spoken to a lot of local residents and everyone is disgusted by the decision.

“As it is I think people need to make their voices heard. I feel bloody angry about the whole thing. They should feel that they have a moral obligation to the people of Winton to help them.”

Bournemouth Echo: Dr Edwin Owen outside Winton Health Centre in BournemouthDr Edwin Owen outside Winton Health Centre in Bournemouth (Image: Max Willcock/BNPS)

Bournemouth West MP Sir Conor Burns previously told the Echo he would seek urgent conversations with NHS leaders in Dorset to work out alternative arrangements for affected patients.

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), a GP should only carry out 143 consultations a week, which equates to 28 a day over five days.

However, the Winton Medical Centre has been so understaffed that doctors have been doing more than double that at 375 a week.

Ian Gray, general manager of Poole Bay & Bournemouth Primary Care Network which owns the health centre, blamed insufficient funding produced by “outdated” formulas used by government.

Bournemouth Echo: Winton Health Centre in Bournemouth.Winton Health Centre in Bournemouth. (Image: Daily Echo)

He explained that despite having more than 10,000 patients the surgery only received funding for 8,500.

Mr Gray said: "There are issues with the way GP practices are funded, in that the formular is based on number of patients, not necessarily the demographics of those patients.

“We haven't had enough funding, the building is not fit for purpose and recruitment has been hard.

“It is just unsustainable to have GPs seeing so many patients a day. From a workforce perspective there was rightful concern over burn out.”