Southwold's £9m health centre on hold

CAMPAIGNERS hoping to create a £9 million healthy living centre in a Suffolk seaside town say plans have been “put on hold” by the local Primary Care Trust.

Mark Lord

CAMPAIGNERS hoping to create a £9 million healthy living centre in a Suffolk seaside town say plans have been “put on hold” by the local Primary Care Trust.

Hopes for a new one stop shop to replace the surgery in Southwold had been gathering pace, with a site in Reydon preferred for the development.

The new centre would have aimed to cater for most health needs and incorporated Southwold Hospital.


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But now Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust has said it is reviewing its development plans - putting the scheme on hold.

Southwold Surgery practice manager Alasdair Wilson said the proposed centre has been a long time coming and the current surgery on York Road was no longer adequate.

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“Plans have been talked about for about five years, but earlier this year things had finally got going,” he said.

“Last month we put forward our proposals to the PCT and we were very disappointed to be told that the plans for the new centre will have to be put on hold while the PCT develops a strategy for the area and decides on a way forward.

“We had hoped to get things underway as soon as possible and maybe start building work next year, but now that does not seem likely.”

Mr Wilson said the surgery was at capacity and just cannot cope from its present premises.

A PCT spokesman said: “The PCT is in the process of finalising its five-year strategy in response to the Health Minister Lord Darzi's final report, which is entitled 'High Quality Care For All', and in consultation with local people and stakeholders across the whole of Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

“Proposals for developments at Southwold and elsewhere will be reviewed in the context of the strategy, beginning in late October when we will be speaking to townspeople and local practitioners again.”

There was disappointment in Southwold yesterday about the plans being put on hold.

Mary Neaves, whose elderly mother regularly visits Southwold Surgery, said: “The surgery is full and the town desperately needs a new health centre.

“This planned one stop shop had seemed like a brilliant way forward and would have meant that people could have dealt with most of their health issues under one roof. I think it is shame that the PCT had decided to call a halt to these plans.”

The centre, if given the green light, would have district nurses, hospital staff, a local pharmacy and a dentist all under one roof.

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