Doctors’ surgeries to merge, North Wootton meeting told

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Lynn’s Southgates Medical and Surgical Centre and the Woottons Surgery are to merge next month, it was announced this week.

A public meeting was held on Tuesday at North Wootton School where nearly 150 local residents, including staff from local pharmacies and patient representatives heard plans for the amalgamation.

The meeting was opened by Woottons Patients Forum chairman Alan Ashworth.

Dr Deborah Hopkin, sole GP principal at the Woottons surgery, said the surgery was unlikely to survive in its current form in the new NHS.

She explained that previous attempts at a merger had not been successful, but the current proposal is very close to conclusion.

She added that she felt it was in the best interests of her patients.

Noel McGivern, general manager of the Southgates practice, discussed a proposed timetable and plans to sustain the services at the Woottons in the longer term, with the current clinical team remaining at the Woottons.

Dr Laurence Atkinson who is a senior GP at Southgates, and also works at Cambridge University Medical School, will be relocating to the Woottons to lead the clinical team, increasing the availability of appointments and continuity of care for patients, with support from the other GPs and staff at Southgates.

Other GPs from Southgates will be available to provide more appointments on a planned basis.

And a further GP has been recruited at the Southgates surgery to enable this support to be delivered at the Woottons site.

Mr Ashworth then opened the floor to a “question and answer” session to enable those present to ask their questions and raise any concerns.

The main concern centred on consistent adequate medical provision at the Woottons surgery and the assurance that existing services will not be removed and transferred to Southgates.

But Dr Atkinson reassured the meeting this would not be the case.

It was agreed that another meeting would be planned for three months after the merger to gather feedback.