Councillors seek re-think over King’s Lynn doctors’ surgery move

GV of  St James Medical Practice, County Court Road, King's Lynn
GV of St James Medical Practice, County Court Road, King's Lynn

Plans to move a Lynn doctors’ surgery out of the town centre could be “detrimental” to patients’ health, members of a council committee have warned.

Officials have been urged to re-think the proposal to move the St James Medical Practice from its present County Court Road home to a site off Edward Benefer Way.

Practice bosses insist the move is essential to secure its future and expand the range of services it provides to patients.

But, following a presentation to West Norfolk Council’s Lynn area consultative committee this week, South and West Lynn councillor Charles Joyce maintained a town centre site was still needed.

He said: “There are big, big problems with moving that surgery away from the town centre. They need to have a split site where people can see their GP.”

St Margarets and St Nicholas member Lesley Bambridge added: “I represent a lot of people who use the surgery and a lot of people are very upset.

“A lot of people live in the town centre who don’t have cars and specifically chose living there because there was a surgery. It’s not satisfactory, I’m afraid, for the residents.”

Details of the current proposal first came to light in March, after the original plan to move the surgery to Kilhams Way was abandoned.

The meeting was told the land that had been identified for the development was sold to a new owner, who had declined to make it available. An alternative site in the Lynnsport area had also been considered, but rejected.

Officials stressed that even if the council decided to provide the currently proposed site, it would still be for NHS bosses to decide whether the scheme was appropriate or not.

And practice managers have consistently argued they need to move out of County Court Road, because of a lack of space and car parking at the site, plus the potential of a new building to provide additional services, such as a pharmacy.

Labour group leader John Collop said the principle of the proposal was “logical”, despite the location concerns.

He said: “Where it’s positioned needs live consideration but we need to realise we do need this and I hope this panel can take this forward.

“Where it goes is a different matter, but it is needed.”

The borough council is acting as a developer to provide land for a surgery and Gary McGuinness urged his colleagues not to lose sight of the “commendable” efforts to keep the investment needed for the scheme in the public sector, rather than a private developer being appointed to do the work.

Officers offered to arrange talks between the committee and the practice on the scheme.

But Mr Joyce said health chiefs should be told that other sites were available.

He said: “The borough council is willing to find a site. We support them in doing that. We just don’t want to do any damage to local residents’ health.

“A patient must be able to consult their GP. If that means a split site, that’s what it has to be.”