Patients in King’s Lynn are being asked for their views on proposals to close Fairstead Surgery after it was deemed “not fit for purpose”.
Vida Healthcare, which runs the surgery, has launched a three-month consultation on the future of GP services at the site, which serves 4,000 patients.
The ageing surgery, built in the 1960s, is not complaint with Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidelines and continues to decline, it is warned.
The building has poor accessibility and there are issues surrounding health and safety, with incidents of staff falling on the “non-compliant stairs”, according to the consultation document.
The services on offer have also deteriorated, with GP and other roles unfilled because staff are “expressing less willingness” to work there, the report goes on.
“There is an urgent need to resolve these issues. There are real concerns that time is rapidly running out to maintain safe, acceptable and appropriate standards of employment and service provision.
“This also means we are not able to plan our current and future services properly,” the consultation document states.
Gayton Road Health Centre is the site of the main surgery, with Fairstead and St Augustine’s in Columbia Way being branch surgeries.
All three are run by Vida Healthcare and, after listing a number of options including a new surgery on the estate, the company has said the only viable solution is to expand St Augustine’s and Gayton Road to offer Fairstead patients access to either site.
“Walking will continue to be an option for many and both other sites have car parking. Public transport is available and West Norfolk Community Transport can provide door to door transport at a small cost,” the documents states.
“This is viewed as a timely and cost effective solution which allows for further growth of the patient population.”
The consultation document notes that some Fairstead patients go to the accident and emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gayton Road when they are unable to get an appointment with their doctor.
“The preferred option we are proposing will provide better access to a wider range of clinicians at the Gayton Road and St Augustine’s sites, so there should be less need for patients to consider using the A&E department,” it adds.
The consultation launched last Thursday and runs until Friday, August 30.
Residents can have their say by completing the consultation survey, or by attending one of three public workshops, to be chaired by Healthwatch Norfolk, an independent group for patients.
Workshops are to be held at Fairstead Community Centre from 10.30am to noon on Tuesday, June 11 and Tuesday July 9 and at Gayton Road Health Centre from 7pm to 8pm on Wednesday, August 14.
The survey can be completed online at: https://www.healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk/fairstead-primary-care-consultation/
Paper copies can be picked up at locations in the area, including Fairstead Surgery, Well Pharmacy, and surrounding shops on the estate.
Throughout the summer, Healthwatch Norfolk will also be running a series of pop-up events until the end of the consultation, with details to be announced on the website healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk.
For more information, call Healthwatch Norfolk on 0808 168 9669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website.