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Surgery decision is delayed

PUBLISHED: 05:32 27 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A SURGERY in the heart of Constable Country threatened with closure received a stay of execution after a meeting of health bosses.

The Constable Country Medical Practice wants to close its Dedham surgery and transfer patients to a state-of-the-art modern medical centre being built in East Bergholt in Suffolk.

A SURGERY in the heart of Constable Country threatened with closure received a stay of execution after a meeting of health bosses.

The Constable Country Medical Practice wants to close its Dedham surgery and transfer patients to a state-of-the-art modern medical centre being built in East Bergholt in Suffolk.

But Dedham villagers do not want their surgery closed and have been campaigning to keep it open. Concerns about the future of the village pharmacy have also been raised should the practice close.

After a meeting yesterday between the Central Suffolk NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT), which has responsibility for the Dedham surgery, and concerned groups it was decided all the available options would be looked at and assessed by May.

It was agreed the current surgery was not suitable to continue providing modern-day primary health care services but would remain open for now.

Christopher Garnett, Colchester borough councillor for Dedham and Langham, said the residents were pleased with the meeting.

"We are totally delighted with the outcome and are looking forward to getting heads round the table to see what we can do from here - but we definitely want to keep a surgery in the village."

Brian Parrott, chairman of the Central Suffolk PCT, said all parties concerned had benefited from the discussions, held at Hartismere Lodge in Eye.

He said: "We accepted that there were arguments about both the unsuitability of the current premises but also of the strong case for there being an NHS practice in Dedham.

"It was agreed that over the next three months work would be done by all the organisations involved, including the Dedham residents, to come up with more acceptable ways forward."

A project led by the PCT, working with the practice, Dedham Parish Council and other key groups, will address the issues of the surgery, local dental services, health care facilities and transport issues related to the health care services.

Earlier this month, the North East Essex Community Health Council added its backing to the villagers' campaign, when it decided to oppose the surgery's closure.

Joan Smith, its chief officer, said she was pleased that patients' needs in Dedham would now receive careful consideration.

"It is clear any new surgery needs to be in Dedham and up to now there had been a lack of information about what the community wanted."

The nearby Ardleigh surgery closed its doors to patients from the Dedham and the Lawford area last year because more than 600 people had joined and were putting pressure on its resources.


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