Campaigners claim victory as King's Lynn surgery looks set to be reprieved
A Lynn medical practice looks set to be saved from closure after health chiefs announced other options for the area will be explored.
Operators of the Fairstead Surgery had claimed the building was not fit for purpose and should be shut, with patients being transferred to other practices in Gaywood and North Lynn.
But, following a long-running campaign against the idea, bosses have today announced the practice will remain open while alternative proposals are considered.
And patients' representatives have hailed the move as a victory for the community.
Dr Penelope Watkins, secretary of the surgery's patient participation group (PPG), said: "We have worked so hard.
"It shows that if you do get behind a campaign and support it, you can change things."
The future of the practice has been a hot topic since the PPG, with the support of councillors, launched a campaign to save it in February last year.
Subsequently, its operator, Vida Healthcare, proposed that the building should close and its patients be given the choice of receiving care at either the Gayton Road Health Centre or the St Augustine's surgery in North Lynn.
A three-month public consultation, overseen by Healthwatch Norfolk, was then undertaken and revealed widespread opposition to the plan.
But a recommendation not to accept the closure option is now due to be considered at a West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) committee meeting next week.
And Melanie Craig, chief officer for all Norfolk's CCGs, said Vida itself had asked for the new approach to be adopted.
She said: "Vida Healthcare has listened very carefully to what local people have told them.
"As a result of this, and at their request, we are supporting them to consider further options."
It is unclear exactly what options might be on the table, though both re-developing the existing surgery or building a new one have both been considered previously.
Mrs Craig also revealed that the CCG has started a broader study of healthcare capacity across the wider Lynn area.
She said: "We will 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."
The future of the surgery is due to be discussed by the West Norfolk CCG's primary care commissioning committee when it meets at the West Norfolk Deaf Association building on Railway Road, Lynn next Friday, January 31, at 1pm.
More by this authorAllister Webb