'Friendly' GP surgery given £8,500 thank you from patients
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
"A hundred times thank you" - that is Leiston's message to its popular GP surgery after patients rallied round to raise more than £8,500 for doctors who helped them during the coronavirus crisis.
The sudden rise of pandemic in March 2020 left many people feeling vulnerable and afraid.
But patients said that Leiston Surgery went "above and beyond" to support the town throughout the crisis - not least through its speedy Covid vaccination programme.
"The more the orderly Covid vaccination programme was rolled out at the beginning of the year, the more people were wondering what they could do to say thank you to the surgery for being so efficient throughout the many months of the pandemic," said Lesley Hill, chairman of the practice's patient participation group.
So she and other members of the group's committee organised "thank you stations" across the town, where people could donate to show their appreciation.
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At first, it was thought the stations at places such as Nichols Family Butchers, Platts greengrocers, the Co-op and the town council office would raise hundreds of pounds at best.
But the campaign exceeded everyone's expectations by raising more than £8,500.
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The money has allowed the surgery to buy a new electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, which measures heart activity, as well as revamp its indoor and outdoor areas where staff can take a break during long days at work.
"It certainly shows how people feel about the surgery," Mrs Hill said.
"What has come across is the kind and caring nature of everyone at the surgery, which has been there long before the pandemic.
"The pandemic has given people even more of a reason to say thank you."
Mrs Hill said the campaign, which also took online donations via JustGiving, "wasn’t focused solely on raising funds".
She added: "It was about giving the community a chance to say in their own words what the surgery means to them.
"Many cards of warm and grateful words have been sent for the surgery team to enjoy and share.
"We the committee know exactly how lucky we are to have such an efficient and friendly surgery. We hear positive news and reviews on a regular basis.
"The 'thank you' campaign has seen all of that gratitude for the surgery brought together."