War veteran's GP plea to the Queen

By Annie DavidsonA WAR veteran has written a heartfelt letter to the Queen asking for her help in stopping his doctor's surgery being moved to a new site.

By Annie Davidson

A WAR veteran has written a heartfelt letter to the Queen asking for her help in stopping his doctor's surgery being moved to a new site.

Sidney Smith, 81, was delighted to get a reply from her the Queen, saying his concerns had been noted and she had passed on his letter to a Government minister.

Mr Smith, of Jubilee Avenue, Great Clacton, was voicing his concerns about a proposed new health centre in Kennedy Way, Clacton.

Tendring Primary Care Trust wants to replace four outdated GP practices in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea with the new centre.

Residents have objected to the proposal, holding public meetings and collecting a petition to protest against the plan.

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Mr Smith, who lives with his wife, Pearl, 69, served in India and Burma with the RAF during the Second World War.

He said: “After the war things were meant to get better for us, they said there were going to be better facilities for health and things like that.

“We got the National Health Service, but they closed the hospital where I used to live in Braintree, so I had to travel to Chelmsford if there was anything wrong with me.

“Now I moved to Clacton where there is a nice doctor's which is quite handy, but they now want to close the surgery and go to Kennedy Way.

“If I'm feeling ill, I don't feel like getting on the bus to go all that way. It's only natural that at nearly 82 you get a few aches and pains.”

Mr Smith, a patient at the Epping Close doctor's surgery in Great Clacton, said he had written to the Queen hoping she would be able to help.

He was pleased when she replied, saying she would forward his letter to Margaret Beckett, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary.

“I am hoping I am going to hear from Mrs Beckett and that we will keep the surgery where it is,” said Mr Smith.

Paul Unsworth, chief executive of Tendring Primary Care Trust, said he would like to meet Mr Smith to discuss his concerns and make sure he understood the proposal.

“For example, he would probably not need to go to Colchester for some of the things he would have to now,” he added.

“He would also still be able to get a doctor's visit or community nurse visit. I hope we will be able to win him round to see it's going to be a much better service.”


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