Anger at new health services move

PATIENTS have reacted angrily after health bosses resurrected controversial plans for a new GP surgery at an unpopular location in an Essex town.

James Hore

PATIENTS have reacted angrily after health bosses resurrected controversial plans for a new GP surgery at an unpopular location in an Essex town.

Residents in Holland-on-Sea and Great Clacton campaigned successfully against proposals to merge outdated doctors' surgeries into a central health clinic at an industrial site in Kennedy Way, Clacton.

The multi-million pound facility was eventually put on hold last year when it emerged there had been an overestimation of the number of patients who would be using it.

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But the North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) has now announced it wants to create a new surgery at Kennedy Way and said it would be happy if all of the remaining three “small and cramped” practices were to move in.

The surgeries that could be affected are at Frinton Road in Holland-on-Sea and the Epping Close and North Road surgeries in Great Clacton.

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However, the PCT said its preferred option for the Frinton Road surgery was to relocate it on land at Brighton Road.

Both suggestions have been criticised by the Holland-on-Sea Residents Action Group (RAG) which has fought against the Kennedy Way plan after it was announced nearly five years ago by the now defunct Tendring PCT.

The group said the Brighton Road site was too far out of the town and suggested an alternative site belonging to the residents of Holland in Frinton Road was prefect for a new surgery.

Spokesman Roy Brabbins said: “This is no good for the residents of Holland-on-Sea. We have been fighting against Kennedy Way for nearly five years.

“Brighton Road is too far out, Kennedy Way is better, but there is the alternative and that is the site opposite the current Frinton Road surgery which has been given to the community by a local builder.

“It is central, on the main road where the bus service goes and there is car parking next door to it - that is the site where they should construct any future development.”

Tonia Parsons, the project's director at the PCT, said: “We have been in discussion with these three surgeries for some time now regarding improvements to their premises.

“Whilst the quality of services delivered by staff at all three surgeries is of a high standard, the premises are small, cramped and unable to grow. The practice teams are keen to explore alternatives.

“We have an opportunity to explore the creation of a new, spacious, purpose-built GP surgery on the site of Kennedy House and, working with Tendring District Council, we have highlighted a potential site in Brighton Road for another new surgery but we want to hear the public's views which will significantly influence the final decisions.

“Public support will be essential in pursuing the required planning consent and we are urging patients and residents to make their views known through the various methods available.”

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