Temporary surgery in west Norfolk welcomed

Villagers have welcomed the temporary move of a west Norfolk GP surgery to a Scout hut.

The Terrington St John practice, which serves 6,500 patients in the Fens, is being taken over by Peterborough-based primary care group First Health.

But with the outgoing partners refusing an offer of �475,000 for the surgery building, doctors, nurses and receptionists transferred to the village Scout hut yesterday.

Dr Luke Twelves, deputy medical director of First Health, said: 'It was heartening to see lots of patients, residents and councillors come down here. There was a strong sense of communuty and the way everyone has rallied around us is amazing. The staff have also been fantastic.

'I think a lot of people came to find out what's going on in detail and for us it was easier to explain things to people when they were here and asking specific questions.'

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Talks over the current surgery building have broken down completely, meaning First Health will have to build a new surgery – the village's second in just over 10 years.

The custom-built surgery is currently in London but Dr Twelves said he hopes it will be brought up to the village by Christmas.

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He continued: 'I know there have also been concerns about where the patient medical records will be kept.

'During the day they will be here but held securely at our Terrington St Clement branch overnight.'

He added: 'It was good for us to be able to tell people what our ambitions are for the short term and long term and show pictures of the surgery that has been ordered.'

Pam Hardy, chairman of Terrington St John Parish Council, was invited to attend the opening. She said: 'They are doing the best they can. The Scout hut was clean and I was impressed with what I was told and saw.

'I keep saying to people to give them a chance because moving into the Scout hut was a difficult decision.

'People have been angry about how this came about but First Health have not held anything back.'

Doug Jones, vice-chairman of Tilney St Lawrence Parish Council, added: 'When I went there I was apprehensive after all that has been going on. Clearly the Scout hut is not appropriate but it will surfice in the short term and they are making the best of a bad situation.

'It does, however, still seem ridiculous we have a proper surgery here which can't be used.'

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