Fresh blow for one-stop health centre

By Craig RobinsonA TOWN councillor has expressed his disappointment after primary care trust bosses failed to give their backing to a ground-breaking one stop health shop.

By Craig Robinson

A TOWN councillor has expressed his disappointment after primary care trust bosses failed to give their backing to a ground-breaking one stop health shop.

His comments came following an informal meeting aimed at persuading representatives from East Suffolk Primary Care Trusts to support a plan to bring all of Saxmundham's health services under one roof in a state-of-the-art medical centre.

Richard Smith, chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, said it was now unlikely to get the go-ahead because of financial pressures.


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“The actual decision will be made on April 27, but it looks like the recommendation from officers will be that the primary care trusts can't afford to fund it because of their existing debts,” he added.

“It's very sad and I think we are all disappointed with the outcome. It seems to us to be wholly beneficial for Saxmundham and the surrounding district, but we really didn't get very far.”

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It is the latest in a list of disappointments for the plan, which controversially suffered a major setback after it was not awarded a share of almost £1million in funding for Suffolk health projects.

Among the services proposed for the one-stop shop, which would be located on the old A12 to the north of Saxmundham, would be an ambulance station, a birthing unit, an out-of-hours GP service, a diagnostic and treatment centre and a children's service.

Supporters of the centre had hoped that primary care trust bosses would give the project their backing at the meeting after Saxmundham GP Dr John Havard produced a revised version of its business plan.

Dr Havard said: “We believe that the centre will actually save money while at the same time improve services to the area, but the primary care trusts don't believe that.

“The Government wants to move services from secondary to primary care and that is exactly what the one-stop health centre would do, but because of the debts of East Suffolk Primary Care Trusts we are unable to do this.”

A spokesman for East Suffolk Primary Care Trusts said no final decision would be made until a meeting later this month.

“We had an informal meeting with town councillors, district councillors and patient and public involvement forum representatives to update them and discuss some of the difficult issues involved in the assessment,” he added.

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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