‘There are people in pain who can’t walk’ - Campaigners rally 500 signatures against Sheringham clinic move to Kelling
- Credit: Archant
More than 500 people have signed a petition in Sheringham against a decision to move treatment clinics from the town's medical practice to Kelling Hospital - five miles away.
Campaigners say elderly and vulnerable patients would find it difficult to organise transport and face traffic near the hospital.
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, which ran the physiotherapy, leg ulcer and continence clinics at Sheringham Medical Practice changed the location to the nearby rehabilitation hospital.
But the surgery's patient participation group, led by chairman Keith Cameron, have called the move 'appalling', and 'a disaster from start to finish'.
Mr Cameron said there had been an inadequate patient consultation, with over-complicated questionnaires over a short period, and said the needs of patients had been ignored.
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Five patients who turned up for clinic treatment at the surgery on September 29 were sent home as furniture from the treatment rooms had already been moved to Kelling.
'This has absolutely shattered the whole trust in the NHS,' he said. 'There are people in pain who can't walk.'
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Mr Cameron said he was informed of the decision to move the clinics on August 20, and a meeting was held between the trust and the patient participation group on September 15.
The proposed relocation was brought to the trust's board on September 24, and the clinic was moved five days later.
Patient Catherine Kynoch, 90, of Childs Way in Sheringham, said she used the clinics, and would not be able to drive as far as Kelling due to a sore ankle
'I have had taxis to the surgery but when you get to my age your money has gone down so I wouldn't be able to afford to take one to Kelling Hospital,' she said.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he sympathised with the patients, and would look into how the decision was made before he formed a view. 'Any decision which results in people having to travel further to access services is a concern,' said Mr Lamb.
'This gives an impression that minds were made up before patient representatives were involved and I am very concerned about that.'
Mark Easton, interim chief executive at the trust, said it had reviewed a number of services across the county, as part of a project to improve the environment for patients and better manage its property.
Nine services were affected across the county, with the clinic in Sheringham moving from rented rooms at the GP practice to Kelling Hospital, owned by the trust.
Mr Easton said the trust would make a 12-month recurrent saving of about £220,000.
He said the trust had made its decision following engagement, feedback and advice from patients, carers and key organisations.
'We continue to listen to our patients and will support them in getting to Kelling or offer, when appropriate, access to ad hoc clinics or home visits,' he said,
'We feel that after listening to this feedback, addressing the concerns of individuals, and reviewing the costs of continuing to rent space in Sheringham that we have got the balance right in our decision.'
He also said incident on September 28 was a genuine miscommunication.