‘They’ve put the cart before the horse’ - Consultation starts over closure of Fairstead Surgery

Fairstead Surgery. Picture: Ian Burt

Fairstead Surgery. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A GP surgery with more than 4,000 patients could close as time was 'rapidly running out' to make sure standards were safe.

The Fairstead Surgery, in Centre Point, on the Fairstead Estate in King's Lynn, has not met Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards since 2012 according to operator Vida Healthcare, which has now launched a consultation over the site, with the possibility it will close for good.

Patients and campaigners previously launched a bid to keep the surgery, which is a branch surgery connected to Gayton Road Health Centre and St Augustine's Surgery, open.

But a document released by Vida Healthcare said: "We have concluded that the best way to continue to provide primary care services to people in Fairstead would be to close the Fairstead branch surgery site, expand at Gayton Road and St Augustine's and allow patients to access either site."

It said a new building, renovation, or creating a new site to combine the Gayton Road site and Fairstead would be too costly.

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The document said: "We know that some of our patients go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when they can't get an appointment with their GP."

And it said the new proposals would help stem that. But Glyn Watkins, chairman of the surgery's patient participation group (PPG), said closing the surgery would actually worsen the problem.

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Mr Watkins said many of the surgery's patients were elderly and he said: "They are a damn sight nearer to the hospital than the other sites."

He added the PPG had been at the first consultation event on Tuesday, but that he had not been impressed. He said: "They've put the cart before the horse and they've called the meeting on the proposals but we discussed the choice they had already made."

He said the group had asked for a meeting with Vida Healthcare before the next consultation event next month.

- To take part in the consultation, which is being run by Healthwatch Norfolk, visit bit.ly/FairsteadSurgery to fill in the survey online. There are also public workshops at Fairstead Community Centre, on July 9, from 10.30am to noon, and at Gayton Road Health Centre, on August 14, from 7pm to 8.30pm.

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