Village surgery to be axed

A PRIMARY care trust has agreed plans to axe a village branch surgery – despite two petitions, one of which was 309-strong.Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust board approved plans to close Westleton Village Hall branch surgery, which is operated by Leiston GPs, at a meeting on Wednesday .

A PRIMARY care trust has agreed plans to axe a village branch surgery - despite two petitions, one of which was 309-strong.

Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust board approved plans to close Westleton Village Hall branch surgery, which is operated by Leiston GPs, at a meeting on Wednesday .

The GPs will continue to run a more up-to-date branch surgery at Yoxford.

Board members were given a range of reasons for the closure, including poor facilities, a lack of privacy and poor attendance.


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The Leiston surgery was also faced with the retirement of one of its doctors, and a lack of computer links.

Westleton Woman's Institute organised a petition against the closure which was signed by 309 people from the Westleton, Darsham and Dunwich area.

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"The people who went round the houses were impressed by the strength of feeling and the alacrity with which the petition was signed. This was so especially with the elderly and those living in the council houses," said Dr Margaret Robertson, who submitted the petition.

"Most of those who are not with the Leiston doctors expressed the view that if they could no longer drive they would want to use the surgery in the village."

But the meeting was told that of the 309 who had signed the petition 135 were patients registered with the Leiston surgery.

Another petition against closure was signed by 13 people, five of whom were with the practice, the meeting heard.

Ana Selby, chief executive at the PCT, said: "I think it's quite clear that the standard of the accommodation is quite poor."

Dr Geraint Jones, a partner at the Leiston surgery, put the case for closure of the surgery, which runs three mornings a week.

"We did have meetings with the Westleton Parish Council to look into alternative accommodation about two years ago, but unfortunately nothing ever came of that," he explained.

"I think the main reason for the petition is that nobody likes to see diminution of a service and historically there has always been a doctor in Westleton."

He said the GPs were in talks with CATS, the Coastal Accessible Transport Service, about providing transport to Leiston or Yoxford for those patients who needed it.

"I think we are unique in that area in providing two branch surgeries," said Dr Jones. "As far as transport goes, we have thought long and hard about this."

The village shop would continue to be a pick-up point for medication, board members were told.

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