Huyton doctors surgery devastated by arsonists just weeks after opening following Covid pandemic

  • Report by Granada Reports journalist Claire Hannah

A GP surgery which has just reopened its doors after the pandemic has been hit by a devastating arson attack.

Vandals smashed the front windows of the Roby Medical Centre before pouring petrol in and setting it alight in the early hours of 24 February.

Merseyside Police is now investigating whether the attack is linked to a separate incident which saw racist graffiti sprayed on the outside of the surgery in Huyton less than a month earlier.

The attack comes less than two weeks after Dr Aman Amir and Erika Howell took over the practice as partners.

Dr Aman said: "Within days of joining the practice there was some graffiti outside on the walls, some horrible racial slurs were written on the walls.

"I don't have anything to say to them, in my life and in my own sphere of people we wouldn't understand what would motivate people to do this.

"We should be a society that just doesn't tolerate this kind of behaviour, the mind boggles, it's very difficult to try and understand why and how."

Police are investigating whether the attack is linked to an incident in which racist graffiti was sprayed on the outside of the surgery.

Patients can still get face-to-face appointments at a temporary practice set up at a nearby Davey’s Chemist, and the Walk in Centre at Nutgrove Villa.

It is thought the damage will take at least three months to fix.

"It's really sad, it's really disturbing on so many different levels," Dr Aman added.

"One that anyone could do this to anyone really, but as a clinical space, a space that we're proud to serve our community in and provide services for their healthcare it's put us out of action really, it's really quite sad and shocking.

"Just looking at this space here is quite sad really, if anyone is looking at their workspace in a state like this they would naturally become very emotional and sad that this has even happened to them."

Police say the attack, at around 2.30am, was a deliberate one and have appealed for information from anyone witnesses.

In a statement it said: "The fire was extinguished and there are no reports of anyone being injured.

"Further enquiries established that damage was caused to a ground floor window of the building and the fire was caused deliberately.

"An investigation is underway and officers are currently carrying out CCTV and witness enquiries in the area."

In a statement Knowsley CCG said: "Knowsley CCG is shocked by the mindless vandalism recently directed toward Roby Medical Practice and has provided practical support in response to the incident, which is subject to on an ongoing police investigation.

"The CCG secured alternative clinical space within 24 hours at the nearby Walk in Centre at Nutgrove Villa, and from this week also at Davey’s Chemist in Huyton, to ensure continuity of care for patients.

"Patients are also able to receive face to face care where clinically appropriate, and virtual care via telephone and e-consult options."