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King's Lynn surgeries of 'poor quality by national standards' as three sites identified for relocation

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A health care planner has said Lynn's surgery provision is "poor" by national standards and there is an "urgent need" for two sites to be funded.

Chris Acton of the York-based Primary Care Partnership has been researching data as part of the process in which St James Medical Practice will be relocated.

He presented his findings to a consultation with borough and county councillors on Monday in which he stated the town is poorly served for surgeries.

St James Surgery in King's Lynn will be moving to a new location. Picture: Prabir Mitra
St James Surgery in King's Lynn will be moving to a new location. Picture: Prabir Mitra

Two sites have been identified at Edward Benefer Way, as well as one at Nar Ouse for the surgery's relocation, and Mr Acton will be presenting his options appraisal to the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in late November.

Speaking after this week's meeting, Mr Acton said: "The town is desperate to get a new surgery and it is a question of where the best site is in terms of affordability and practicality. There are lots of things in the mix at the moment but the plan is to go back to the council in late November.

"By national standards, King's Lynn surgeries are of poor quality quite frankly, and if assessed by national criteria there is a need for two new practice buildings. There is definite funding for one, and the possibility of a second subject to a premises review of the whole CCG area which is currently underway."

Mr Acton added that some improvements have been seen at Fairstead's surgery but he said there is not enough to satisfy the town as a whole due to the population growth.

An associate of St James Medical Practice said Monday's meeting concluded that the site most suitable is located on Edward Benefer Way to the North of the town just before the junction with Hall Lane.

Another site on Edward Benefer Way and the Nar Ouse site near the King's Lynn Innovation Centre (KLIC) were a close joint second.

A suggestion to redevelop the Debenhams store was also considered but this was not thought to be viable.

West Norfolk county councillor Alex Kemp, who attended the meeting, said: "It is shocking how Lynn’s surgeries have not grown with its growing population. Now 7,000 more homes are to be built. New premises are needed in the south and north of the town."

She said residents, particularly elderly people and families, do not want to see St James moved to the north as this could require two bus journeys for those living in West Lynn and Clenchwarton.

Her preferred option is the Nar Ouse site due to it being well-served to the north by public transport and having plenty of space for parking.

A good network access to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital along Hardwick Road and Queen Elizabeth Way was also mentioned by Ms Kemp.

Councillor Lesley Bambridge said: "I passed on some population figures to back up my request for two new surgeries.

"Imagine a mother with ill young children having to walk from Wisbech Rd to Edward Benefer Way. Inappropriate location to suit the needs of residents."

North West Norfolk MP James Wild: "I met the chief executive of the Norfolk and Waveney CCG recently to review GP provision across King’s Lynn taking account and raise constituents’ concerns in light of proposed new housing development and need.

"Last month, I encouraged constituents to respond to the consultation on the proposed relocation of the St James practice and I will be discussing the responses with the CCG ahead of any decisions.”

Officials have long agreed that the current County Court Road practice has been limiting the services offered to patients, which includes a lack of parking and wheelchair access.

The building is deemed no longer fit for purpose with all possibilities to expand exhausted. The process to move the surgery began in 2015.

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