PATIENTS of the Heath End surgery packed a meeting in Farnham on Friday in protest against plans to shut it down and move the patients to central Farnham.

Farnham MP Virginia Bottomley told them she had received huge numbers of letters of complaint, including many from people living in Aldershot. She still did not understand why it was thought necessary to close what was a well used local amenity.

Denys Hayes, in the chair, said that the Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust's handling of the whole affair had been "scandalous" and they had been economical with the truth.

He said the practice running Heath End wanted to close it to bring all six doctors together under one roof regardless of patients' wishes and the 740-signature petition submitted.

Mrs Bottomley said before leaving the meeting that she was even less convinced of the case for closure. She would be pursuing it with the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman and the next stage would be a meeting with the Trust chairman.

Said protest spokesman Simon Hemans of Aldershot: "The health bureaucrats may only now be realising that what they obviously thought would be a pushover could well leave blood on the carpet."