Joy for thousands of patients as Terrington St John health centre re-opens

There was cause for villagers to celebrate this week when a health centre re-opened after almost a year in temporary accommodation.

The Terrington St John practice moved out of the village's health centre last November after its new owners were unable to agree a deal with the outgoing partners.

This meant Peterborough-based primary care group First Health had to move doctors, nurses and receptionists into the village's Scout hut before moving into portable buildings in the village.

But patients in and around Terrington St John have been able to see their doctor or nurse in the health centre this week.

Pam Hardy, chairman of Terrington St John Parish Council, and Doug Jones, vice chairman of Tilney All Saints parish council, both visited the new-look surgery after doors opened on Monday.

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Mrs Hardy said: 'It is a shame this saga dragged on for so long and I do hope lessons have been learned for the future.

'I think the parish council and villagers turned themselves inside out and really did all we could to help keep the surgery here.

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'From my point of view, this is my village and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to keep this service here.

'First Health could have moved to another village and the village could have lost it so I am delighted to see the health centre re-open.'

Mr Jones said: 'I think we all felt let down by the fact the situation was allowed to escalate to the point that the practise had to move in the Scout hut which was totally inadequate.

'It's great that the practice is back in the purpose-built building but a surgery with some 7,000 patients should never have been put in that position.'

'But hopefully now we can draw a line under all of that now. The fact that we have our surgery back up-and-running for the purpose it was designed for it a reason to celebrate.'

He added: 'We were grateful to the help we received from borough and county councillors and our local MP Elizabeth Truss because it was their efforts in the last few months that have helped really progress the matter and get things done.

'I have had a look around at how things are going down there and it seemed very peaceful with a number of people in there. I spoke to the receptionist and she told me the change-over couldn't have gone any better.'

Building works have been carried out to ensure the building complies with new infection control standards which are being introduced by the Care Quality Commission in 2012/13.

New sinks, floors and other fittings have all been installed along with a reception desk.

Luke Twelves, director at First Health, said: 'When we moved into temporary accommodation we wanted to move into a permanent home within 12 months so I am pleased we were able to achieve that.

'It will take a while to settle in but now that we have a permanent base, we will consolidate the services we currently provide and work on developing more services.

'I think the patients have been fantastic throughout all of this considering what they were having to put up with.

'The re-opening of the health centre signifies a beginning of a new chapter.

'We have proved we are in Terrington St John to stay and that from this base we can start evolving things to improve the service to our patients and reward them for their kindness.'

The purpose-built surgery will also offer facilities to bring services into the community that patients currently have to travel to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, to access.

The first new service planned is anti-coagulation blood testing which should commence in September.

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