Fairstead Surgery closure would be 'big mistake', MP warns
Lynn MP Sir Henry Bellingham has warned health bosses they would be making a "big mistake" if they close the under threat Fairstead Surgery.
Officials have claimed there is no viable alternative to shutting the practice and transferring its patients to two other surgeries.
But, ahead of a public consultation session taking place on the estate today, Sir Henry said a compromise solution can, and should, be found.
He said yesterday: "To close it completely would be a big mistake."
Residents have until late August to have their say on the future of the surgery, which currently serves around 4,000 patients.
Its operator, Vida Healthcare, says the building is not fit for purpose and potential alternatives, including renovating it or building a new surgery, are not viable.
They are proposing to give patients the choice of using either the Gayton Road Health Centre or the St Augustine's surgery in North Lynn, which Vida also operate and where they claim there is space for expansion.
The document said: "This is viewed as a timely and cost effective solution which allows for further growth of the patient population."
But Sir Henry is worried that could make it harder for patients, particularly those who are elderly or disabled, to get the care they need.
He said he would be responding to the consultation and calling for the Fairstead practice to be kept open as a satellite facility.
He argued that similar arrangements are common in other parts of the country and parts of the building could also be opened up for broader community use.
However, the consultation paper claims that renovating the current building would be even more costly than the construction of a brand new surgery.
It added: "Patient disruption would be significant and this does not support GP resilience and new ways of working promoted as the way forward for Primary Care."
But independent councillor Alexandra Kemp said closure would be "catastrophic" and claimed the proposal proved that the process of reforming health services was not working for patients.
Full details of the consultation, and how to take part, are available at www.healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk/fairstead-primary-careconsultation/