'Great sadness' as only GP surgery in village closes
The closure of the only GP surgery in a west Suffolk village is "another blow for rural communities", according to a councillor.
An application by Glemsford Surgery to permanently shut its Hartest branch from August 10 has been approved by the NHS West Suffolk CCG’s primary care commissioning committee.
Bosses made the decision to apply for closure of the Melford Road practice following the retirement of Dr Guy Lesser in March last year, and all services and resources will now be consolidated on one site at Glemsford.
GP recruitment problems were among the issues cited as reasons for the closure.
A public consultation was carried out between May 1 and June 11 to hear patient and community views and concerns regarding the possible closure and the future service development at the Glemsford site.
Richard Kemp, who has been county councillor for the area for 25 years, said the closure was “a blow” for Hartest and surrounding areas.
“I have to say that rural areas seem to be getting hit very hard with all the closures and cuts to services at the moment and it’s another blow,” he said.
“Anything that reduces services for rural communities is to be regretted. I had hoped for a rescue plan to save the surgery because it’s a very much appreciated service in Hartest.
“It’s not only a blow to Hartest, it’s a blow to villages around the Hartest area because a lot of other communities used the surgery in the village.”
Surgery partners Dr Matthew Piccaver and Dr Mary Giblin said it was difficult decision to close the Hartest branch.
Dr Giblin said: “We have not made this decision lightly.
“It is with great sadness that we close the branch surgery at Hartest as it has been part of the practice for so many years.
“However, demands in primary care have changed and we have to do what is best to provide a high quality and sustainable healthcare service for all our patients, now and into the future.”
The Glemsford Surgery will provide a weekly medication collection service in Hartest Institute in addition to the normal provision of medication delivery services.
The institute will be open on Wednesdays between 12pm-1.30pm.
It is anticipated the medication collection service will commence from Wednesday, September 5. The practice dispensary will continue to provide a managed script service for repeats.