West Norfolk Council leader vows to do ‘everything we can’ to build new Fairstead surgery
Council chiefs have pledged to do “everything we can” to secure the long-term future of medical facilities on one of Lynn’s biggest housing estates.
Concerns were first raised last summer about the future of the Fairstead Surgery, amid fears it may shut and leave residents without locally based health provision.
Now, West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long has confirmed he has held talks with health chiefs and patients’ groups in a bid to find a way forward.
He told Thursday’s borough council meeting that there had been “initial conversations” with the surgery’s operator, Vida Healthcare, the West Norfolk clinical commissioning group (CCG) and patients’ representatives.
He went on: “I will repeat to this chamber what I repeated to the CCG and practice and patients’ groups.
“If this council can help in any way with capital investment to develop a new surgery for Fairstead, we will do everything we can to enable that.
“There is further work to do and I will update councillors once I know anything further.”
The comments came after Labour’s Gary Howman, one of the two Fairstead ward representatives, asked for an update on the issue.
He added that Mr Long had agreed to meet with him to discuss it further.
The meeting was told that, although the surgery is performing well in terms of the quality of its care, its building no longer meets required standards on issues such as the size of meeting rooms and the width of corridors.
Last July, Vida Healthcare confirmed it was in discussions with the CCG about what “realistic options” could be considered for care provision in the area.
Previous bids for support to build a new surgery were rejected by health bosses.
Mr Long said he had been contacted by a senior practice doctor about the situation, which he reminded the chamber also affected residents in the Springwood, Bishops Park and King’s Reach areas as well as Fairstead itself.
He added: “I wanted to explore what the arrangements could be if consideration was given for a capital injection from this council to facilitate that build and would there be funds available from the operator and the CCG.”
However, he acknowledged that the CCG’s financial position was “very much constrained” at the moment.
That follows the revelation earlier this month that the group is facing a multi-million overspend this year and has been told to implement urgent savings.