Petition to save lifesaving Costessey surgery
Hundreds of people have signed a petition in a bid to save a doctors' surgery threatened with closure.
Public consultation over the possible closure of Beechcroft Surgery in New Costessey has already begun.
The surgery said a partner had retired and another was intending to retire in the summer, leaving the practice short of GPs. Norwich South MP Simon Wright has already raised concerns about the closure possibility, and a petition to save the surgery has been set up.
Patient Joe Belas, 66, left, who lives near the surgery, said: 'It would be a disgrace if the surgery closed down. It's very important for disabled and elderly people to have it there.
'I would struggle to get to a surgery farther away, and I don't think it should close.
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'There are about 4,000 patients who that surgery, and we all would be in the same boat. I go to the surgery nearly every day, because I have many things wrong with me.
'I'm just recovering from a heart attack, have emphysema and diabetes type 2, and I struggle to walk sometimes. Sometimes my illnesses are so bad that I'm paralysed from the waist down.'
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Another family who live near the surgery, but do not wish to be named, said it had literally kept them together as a family.
The father said: 'We treat the doctors and nurses there as family. It makes this such a lovely community. I could never build the kind of rapport I have with them anywhere else, at least not for a very long time.
'They have also saved the life of our little boy who has severe asthma. It would be a tremendous upheaval if it closed and we had to go elsewhere. Without their dedication and help I would not be in this world today.'
The owners of the surgery have previously stated that the closure proposal would not affect the pharmacy or dental practice, owned and run independently, but a petition to save the surgery has been set up at the pharmacy.
Mohammad Sesahat, a trainee pharmacist at the Beechcroft Pharmacy, said: 'We are against the closure of the surgery, for the benefit of the community, and if we get enough support, we hope that we can persuade them not to close it. The petition already has several hundreds of names on it.'
The owners of the surgery have revealed how unsuccessful attempts to recruit GPs led them to consider shutting.
They say that Costessey's growing population could be catered for at the nearby Roundwell Medical Centre on the corner of Longwater Lane and Dereham Road in Costessey.
The owners said that apart from recruiting new doctors, another option was to close Beechcroft and ask patients if they wanted to register at Taverham Surgery.
The third option is to find somebody to take on the surgery as a GP surgery which the partners said they were exploring.
Councillor Tim East, who represents Costessey on Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk Council, has also warned that the closure could heap pressure on other health services and said he was worried it could leave people without easy access to care, especially with so many new homes earmarked for the area in the years ahead.
A public meeting over the future of the surgery will take place at the Costessey Centre in Longwater Lane at 3pm on Thursday, March 1.
Have you started a petition to save a community asset? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email email@example.com.