Influx of patients from closed surgery heaps pressure on nearby practices

Dr Dan Poulter MP is at Barham and Claydon Surgery. L-R: Dr Dan Poulter, Sarah Payne, Sue Turner, Dr

Barham and Claydon Surgery closed permanently at the end of June - Credit: Archant

Health chiefs are to meet with councillors and an MP to come up with solutions for future GP provision along the A14 corridor, after the closure of a surgery has heaped pressure on nearby practices.

Barham and Claydon Surgery closed permanently at the end of June after staffing cover became too reliant on locum health professionals and prevented it continuing as a viable surgery, necessitating new registrations for its 3,000 patients at other nearby practices.

Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said that around two thirds of those patients have already completed new registrations, the majority of which are at either Chesterfield Drive in north west Ipswich or Needham Market Country Practice.

But concerns were raised at two separate council committees last week that the additional influx of patients is stretching already-busy health centres.

Ipswich borough councillor Christine Shaw told Thursday’s scrutiny committee that it is “a huge concern and it’s going to massively impact on us in west Ipswich".

Borough council colleague Sandra Gage, who was also part of Suffolk County Council’s health scrutiny committee on Wednesday, called for an urgent review of the matter by the committee, and is set to be assessed at its October 13 meeting as part of a wider consideration of GP provision in Suffolk.

Councillors in Mid Suffolk meanwhile last week requested a meeting with CCG bosses about provision in and around Stowmarket, and raised the issue of increased demand at Needham Market’s surgery.

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A task force is now being formed with CCG staff, local councillors, and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter to “start work on reviewing the needs of the population along the A14 corridor to identify options for increasing the estates capacity in that area, which will include the Claydon area”.

A spokesman from the CCG said: “Following the decision by the Barham and Claydon Surgery to close, all former patients have been able to access primary care services at nearby surgeries.

“We are grateful for the support shown by these surgeries in taking on additional patients during this very busy time, and for continuing to deliver safe and quality services.

“The vital contribution made by local practices over the last 18 months of the pandemic, and the support they have given to people in Suffolk, is set to be discussed at the next health scrutiny committee meeting and we will certainly support those discussions.”

Patients from the old Barham and Claydon surgery yet to register with a new practice have been told they will be allocated a health centre close to where they live if they do not do so by July 21, but urged people to leave enough time for a smooth changeover with services.

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