No new surgery until 2005

People in Dedham have been warned that a new surgery for the village is unlikely to be in place until 2005 at the earliest. The news means patients will have a period of interim service next year when after the outdated Constable Country Medical practice is forced to close.

People in Dedham have been warned that a new surgery for the village is unlikely to be in place until 2005 at the earliest.

The news means patients will have a period of interim service next year when after the outdated Constable Country Medical practice is forced to close.

The Dedham practice – which caters for 1,400 patients in Dedham, Langham, Stratford St Mary and Boxted – will be replaced by a purpose-built premises in the village.

However, negotiations about the changes have been ongoing throughout the year without a solution and now Essex County Council has threatened the decision will be referred to the Secretary of State.


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But Norman Foster, director of Health Improvement at Central Suffolk PCT, said it had been working with the practice and local residents and was now considering potential sites.

He said: "It would be disappointing if it went to the Secretary of State - everybody has been working together on finding a solution and everybody wants it to be sorted out.

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"We are looking at potential sites in Dedham and looking at possible provision of a multi purpose facility in the village and that would, or could, include a GP's practice, a dental practice and three low cost flats.

"That is subject to planning permission and funding. It is unlikely to be until the middle of 2005 which means there is a need for an interim solution with a GP operating part of a call service."

Mr Foster acknowledged the interim solution could mean the service would be limited, but said patients would still get a service.

Under disability laws the Constable Country Medical Practice which, operates from a one-bedroom flat in Parsons Field, will fail to meet new accessibly standards in October 2004.

It was originally proposed residents would have to travel to a modern medical centre in East Bergholt – a plan which villagers fought against and won.

A letter from Essex County Council to the Chief Executive of the PCT said there were concerns because of the "slow progress" on the matter.

It said: "The panel is anxious to determine if the process being undertaken can lead to a satisfactory long-term solution for the patients of Dedham."

A decision on whether the matter will be referred to the Secretary of State will be taken later this month.

A public meeting on the issue will take place in Dedham Village Hall at 10.00am today.

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