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Framlingham: New homes a “significant issue” for doctors’ surgery

07:43 28 March 2014

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The doctors’ surgery in a Suffolk town where 450 new homes have been approved has said the population increase would pose “significant issues” to its services.

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Charles Wright, a senior partner at Framlingham Surgery, said the potential influx of patients posed by the new developments would require more doctors and a larger facility – but warned of the funding difficulties in achieving that.

“Our biggest problem is space,” he said. “If numbers increased we would need to have more doctors but it would be difficult to find space for any additional consulting rooms.”

Although the surgery has planning permission to extend its Pembroke Road site, Dr Wright said the modest addition of two small rooms and a slightly larger dispensary would be “the limit of what we can achieve” at the facility.

He also said that Framlingham was a “low-priority area for investment in premises” and the only way to fund the expansion would be from contributions made by housing developers.

“There’s no funds coming from government,” he said.

The surgery currently serves 9,200 patients, which is only 700 more than when Dr Wright began there 15 years ago.

He said, however, that many of the additional patients had only joined over the past six months and expected up to 1,000 more to register if all the approved housing was built.

The doctor’s comments mirror many of the concerns raised by those responding to an ongoing residents’ survey in Framlingham

Initial findings of the survey, launched by Framlingham Town Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Team, revealed that 23% of patients found it difficult to book an appointment with a doctor. A further 42% felt the surgery was not in a suitable location.

“Health services seem to be at capacity; there is a need to promote and protect health and well-being and support healthy lifestyles while enabling expansion of the community,” the report said.

The East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has also recognised the “future challenges an increasing population presents” – particularly among the over 65s.

“This is why we have already developed strategies which will help us deliver the right healthcare in the future, in particular, focussing on health conditions such as cardiovascular and dementia, which will see a big increase in the future,” said a CCG spokesman.

The CCG is also working with Suffolk County Council on a “Health and Independence” initiative, supporting people in the county to live healthier and independent lives.

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