Health centre in Downham Market set to begin new chapter

A health centre in West Norfolk is hoping for a fresh start following a report which criticised the practice's previous management.

NHS East of England board members were presented with a report last week which revealed receptionists at the Downham Market Health Centre recruited locum GPs while the practice's two doctors were suspended.

The independent review, which was commissioned after four 'serious incidents' within a year, also revealed how hundreds of unchecked pathology results were discovered at the practice which serves 2,500 patients.

The review was undertaken by the Collingham Healthcare Education Centre and covered the period between March 2010 and March 2011 - before Vida Healthcare took over the service in April this year.

But on Friday, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss will unveil a plaque at 6.30pm to reveal the new name of the practice, The Hollies, and officially welcome a 'bright new start' for the centre.

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The plaque unveiling will form part of a 'Health Fair' at the Paradise Road centre, which will run from 4.30pm to 7.30pm and enable people to see the services the practice provides.

Dr Mark Funnell, the lead GP at Downham Market Health Centre, said: 'We would like to invite anyone in Downham Market and the surrounding villages to come and see for themselves what an excellent range of services are on offer at the health centre.

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'Vida Healthcare took over this surgery in April 2011 and we are very proud of the services have been able to provide, with the support and involvement of our patients.'

The Hollies was chosen by the centre's patient participation group as the new name for the GP surgery because it is beside the site of a preparatory school founded in the 1870s by the Misses Mumford, called The Hollies.

Later in the 1900s, three sisters ran a Ladies' College and Boys' Preparatory School in the Hollies building. Both schools were regarded as centres of excellence, with emphasis on health, health culture and hygiene as well as a wide range of the more academic disciplines

The patient participation group is also going to be on hand during the event to tell people about what they do and how they can get involved.

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