Downham Market health centre review is welcomed by widower

A widower has welcomed the launch of an independent review into how a health centre has been managed after concerns were raised over patient care.

NHS Norfolk's executive team has commissioned the review into the primary care services offered at Downham Market Health Centre up to early 2011.

From the middle of 2010, NHS Norfolk became aware of issues at the Paradise Road centre which gave cause for concern. The service was taken over by new management on April 1.

Andrew Morgan, chief executive of NHS Norfolk, said: 'We want to establish whether our concerns were justified and what can be learned.

'We will make the report public when it is completed, albeit with due regard for patient confidentiality.'

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The announcement by NHS Norfolk has delighted Brian Baylis who backed a call for an independent inquiry into the care provided at the centre after his wife Yvonne, 58, died in March.

The 58-year-old died just two days after she was told the cancer she was treated for three years ago had returned.

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Mr Baylis said that five weeks before his wife's death, he had contacted the health centre to report she was having breathing problems.

He said a locum GP told him he was unable to see her at home until later that evening – leaving Mr Baylis 'no choice' but to rush his partner to hospital.

The following week, Mr Baylis again reported his then fiancee was having breathing problems, but has claimed the locum refused to see her on this occasion.

He said: 'I could be wrong and I'm not a doctor, but I still feel if he'd done something quicker, Yvonne might still be with me today.'

He added that he had contacted NHS Norfolk and the General Medical Council to lodge a complaint about the surgery after his wife's death.

He continued: 'I know there have been numerous complaints and I have spoken to a few people who have changed surgery.

'I am happy that NHS Norfolk has commissioned an independent review but I think the public should be involved as much as possible.'

The commissioning of the review also comes after South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss met with Mr Morgan about patient concerns and urged him to push for a review.

'An independent review will enable a proper and thorough investigation to take place and provide reassurance to the public,' she said.

'I am delighted that a new practice has now taken over the operation of the health centre and Mr Morgan has assured me that the primary medical services at Downham Market are being treated as a matter of priority.'

The membership of the independent review team, the terms of reference and timeline have yet to be confirmed.

In July 2010, NHS Norfolk re-tendered the contract to provide primary medical services at Downham Market Health Centre and appointed well-established GP practice Vida.

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