Fears expressed over planned King's Lynn surgery move as two 'robust sites' identified
Controversial plans to move Lynn’s main doctors’ surgery appear to have taken a step further.
Two sites have been identified on Edward Benefer Way as part of a proposed move for St James’ Medical Practice.
The practice has engaged the services of third-party developer Michael Luckley, of Eden Stow, with two “robust sites” under consideration.
West Norfolk county councillor Alex Kemp has called this in to Norfolk’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee due to the “overwhelming impact” on access to the surgery for people in the south of the town and surrounding villages.
She said: “If the move goes ahead, there will need to be at least one new surgery in the south of the town, for example in South Lynn where the NORA development is, and West Winch, the King’s Lynn South Growth Area.
“St James’ Surgery is in the town centre, it’s easily accessible, and five minutes from the bus station.
“But the move to Edward Benefer Way would mean two bus journeys to get to the surgery, as people will have to change at the bus station. This would add to the length and cost of journeys.”
A patient travel survey was held from January to March 2018 to identify the impact that a move to a new site on Edward Benefer Way may have on the patients and their ability to travel to the practice.
The results showed 55 per cent of respondents would have to use their own car or form of transport.
Meanwhile, 28 per cent said they would be able to walk or cycle, while roughly 15 per cent would have to use public transport.
A letter by practice manager Kathy Foley, seen by the Lynn News, states both sites currently being considered are accessible by local public transport and would also provide in the region of 80 parking spaces for both patients and staff.
It adds: “We fully understand that a move will not suit everyone; however, we have been left with no other option than to close our list in the near future.
“Although some patients were disappointed that the practice was planning to move, they fully understood the reasons why.”
West Norfolk councillor Charles Joyce, who represents the South Lynn and West Lynn Ward, said he understands why the practice would want to move due to parking issues on County Court Road.
But he shared Ms Kemp’s views that the proposed move would have an adverse impact on residents in his ward, as well as the surrounding villages.
Mr Joyce said: “If they are considering a new place they should look to South Lynn and I have spoken to officers at the borough council who will do whatever they can to accommodate it.
“There is no reason to go northwards away from so many of the patients who just can’t get there without one, two, three buses. This goes for the villages as well.
“There was planning permission at the Southgates opposite the school and this is ideal with a bus route and parking could be easily accommodated.”
A West Norfolk Council spokesman said: “Norfolk and Waveney CCG are currently looking at capacity for each medical practice in West Norfolk.The borough council will wait for the results before commenting on or supporting any of their recommendations.”
Based at St James’ House in County Court Road, the practice provides primary care services for approximately 17,000 patients. The property was originally built in the 1800s as a residential property, eventually becoming a GP practice in the 1980s.
Officials have deemed the building to be no longer fit for purpose and have exhausted all possibilities to expand. The practice first began the process to move in 2015.