Healthcare leaders say they have listened to local people ahead of a meeting to consider the provision of primary care services to the patients of Fairstead in King’s Lynn.
Vida Healthcare, which runs six GP surgeries in West Norfolk, has been consulting with the public over its plans, with the preferred option being to close its branch surgery at Fairstead and expand at two other sites in King’s Lynn.
A public consultation run by Healthwatch Norfolk and supported by NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) ran from May 30 until August 30 last year.
Melanie Craig, Chief Officer of the CCGs in Norfolk and Waveney, said: “We would firstly like to thank everyone who has contributed to this public consultation.
“During the consultation period we attended public meetings and also took part in discussions with local councillors which provided valuable insight into the feelings of local people and the real need for health services which are appropriate and accessible.
“Vida Healthcare has listened very carefully to what local people have told them, and as a result of this, and at their request we are supporting them to consider further options.
A recommendation not to accept the preferred option will be taken to West Norfolk CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee meeting later this month.
Fairstead branch surgery will remain open as we explore these options.
Mrs Craig added: “It is clear is that the people of Fairstead need to access good quality primary care services so that they improve their health outcomes. This may mean accessing health care from a different place or in a different way. With this in mind we need to think more widely and to develop different options, taking into consideration the feedback we have received from local people.
“These days GP practices employ a wide range of staff, not just GPs, to look after patients. Who patients see will increasingly depend on their needs, for example they might get to see a specialist pharmacist to make sure they are on the right medicines or a specialist nurse to help manage ongoing health problems. It is a model where lots of staff work together under one roof and Fairstead branch surgery does not enable us currently to work that way.
“We have also embarked on a wider piece of work to consider the capacity of primary care estates in the wider King’s Lynn area. We will continue to look at this with an open mind and from every angle to try and find a sustainable solution that works for local people and all the partners involved.”
The recommendation will be considered at a meeting of the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee on Friday, 31 January.
The meeting will be held at the West Norfolk Deaf Association in King’s Lynn between 1pm and 3.30pm. It will be held in public and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Papers for this meeting will be available at www.westnorfolkccg.nhs.uk a few days before the meeting.
You can read the report on the findings of the consultation on the Healthwatch website: https://healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk