Fairstead surgery consultation report published
The voices of patients opposed to the proposed closure of a Lynn medical practice are being heard “loud and clear”, health chiefs said today.
The comment was made in a report detailing public views on plans for the Fairstead Surgery, which showed widespread opposition to shutting it.
But a decision on the practice’s fate will not be made until next month.
A public consultation was launched in May on proposals by the surgery’s operator, Vida Healthcare, to close it and offer its estimated 4,000 patients the option of transferring to either the Gayton Road Health Centre or the St Augustine’s surgery in North Lynn.
But many objectors said they felt other alternatives had not been properly considered and the fate of the practice had already been determined.
And 67 per cent of respondents who completed a consultation survey on the closure proposal said Vida had either explored the available options “not very well” or “poorly”, compared with just 16 per cent who chose from the positive options of completely, very well or adequately.
A statement from the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which was contained within the report, said they recognised the strength of feeling on the issue as demonstrated during the consultation process.
It added: “We can assure the people of Fairstead that their voice is heard loud and clear.
“No decisions have yet been made and their feedback will play a very important part in our decision making.
“We continue to look at this with an open mind and from every angle to try and find a sustainable solution that works for local people and all the partners involved.”
But the statement also warned that the changing nature of healthcare provision had to be taken into account as part of the process.
It said: “We also have to recognise the pressures upon Vida Healthcare. They are striving to provide the best possible care for their patients in a building that does not fit their modern clinical model.
“This is not just an issue for Vida, or for King’s Lynn.
“It is a model where lots of staff work together under one roof and Fairstead branch surgery does not currently meet that model.”
The report compiled by Healthwatch Norfolk, the body brought in to oversee the consultation process, said its findings were based on the comments of 336 people who completed the survey.
Of those, the most common concern, expressed in about two thirds of responses, related to the broad issue of difficulties in getting to either Gayton Road or St Augustine’s or accessing either of the two sites.
A final decision on the issue is currently due to be made at a CCG committee meeting in late November.