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Rethink urged over Fairstead surgery closure fears

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Health bosses have been urged to rethink the future of a Lynn doctors’ surgery which is feared to be at risk of eventual closure.

Earlier this week, a campaign to save the Fairstead Surgery, which patients’ representatives claim is being run down by its management, was launched with the support of senior councillors.

The practice’s operator, Vida Healthcare, has said it is working with local health commissioners to develop plans for provision in the area, which will be the subject of a future public consultation.

But North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham says he shares the concerns of local residents about how their care needs might otherwise be met.

He said he would be writing to senior partners of Vida and bosses of the West Norfolk clinical commissioning group (CCG) to voice his concerns on the issue.

And he added: “It would be a really retrograde step if it was to close. It would cause a huge amount of inconvenience and hardship.”

The issue has come to a head after several consulting rooms at the Fairstead surgery were recently taken out of clinical use.

Fairstead Surgery General view
Fairstead Surgery General view

In a joint statement with the CCG this week, Vida pointed out the surgery building had been deemed non-compliant several years ago and efforts to provide alternative provision, over many years, had proved unsuccessful.

The company, which runs six practices across West Norfolk including three in Lynn, says it is working with the CCG to establish “the best way to deliver care for all its King’s Lynn patients in safe and appropriate premises.”

It played down the significance of the removal of rooms from clinical use, saying routine reviews of buildings would not necessarily include public involvement.

And Vida says details of its own consultation will be available “in due course.”

But critics say the Fairstead surgery is being run down and Sir Henry said the scale of housing development since it opened demonstrated the continuing need.

He said: “I just don’t believe it makes any sense whatsoever to keep it going as a satellite of Gayton Road.”

He added that he was also worried uncertainty over provision at the surgery may lead some patients to go to the accident and emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital instead.

Campaigners and councillors have indicated they believe that is already happening.

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