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Patients 'still suffering' because of King's Lynn surgery threat, senior councillor claims

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Patients of a Lynn medical practice fear it is being pushed towards closure because of a continuing failure to provide consistent services there, a councillor has claimed.

Health chiefs repeated their insistence that no decision has yet been taken on the future of Fairstead Surgery during a council committee meeting last night.

But borough deputy mayor Margaret Wilkinson, who represents the Fairstead ward, said patients were becoming demoralised by continuing problems there.

Fairstead Surgery GV King's Lynn (7348260)
Fairstead Surgery GV King's Lynn (7348260)

She said: "We've already lost two of the GPs and now we're going to lose a further one.

"In the meantime there is the dilemma of patients not being able to get to Gayton Road or turning up to Fairstead and there's no-one there. They're really getting disheartened. It's another step closer to the end."

Mrs Wilkinson told West Norfolk Council's Lynn area consultative committee there was also continuing frustration over the time it was taking for patients to book appointments despite pledges from operator Vida Healthcare that flaws in their systems would be addressed.

She added: "This morning we were getting phone calls from people saying they’re fed up waiting half an hour.

"Patients are still having to suffer and feel really let down."

The fate of the practice was high on the agenda as officials from West Norfolk's clinical commissioning group gave a presentation on the current state of healthcare provision in the area.

A public consultation on proposals to close the surgery, and offer its 4,000 patients the choice of treatment at either the Gayton Road Health Centre or the St Augustine's Surgery in North Lynn, ended last month. A CCG committee is due to decide its future in November.

But, despite recent accusations that officials weren't engaging with public concerns on the issue, Melanie Craig, the accountable officer for all five of the current CCGs in Norfolk, maintained they are listening.

She said: "I really want to assure you we absolutely haven’t made any decision and are listening very hard to the feedback. But it is a complex situation.

"It's about the workforce and how we provide access to good sustainable services to the people of Fairstead. We’re working very hard to achieve that."

She also denied claims of a strategy geared towards fewer, larger surgeries, insisting that the issues related to Fairstead were specific to that site.

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