Elderly residents “let down” as NHS doctors surgery closure announced

ELDERLY residents in Belton fear they will be “left out in the cold” after the NHS announced their village’s doctors surgery is to close.

Bosses at NHS Norfolk and Waveney say Belton Surgery is not up to scratch and there is no cash to open a new surgery in the village, so its 1,200 patients will be transferred to Millwood Surgery in Bradwell.

Belton Surgery, in St John’s Road, will shut its doors for the last time on June 6.

And while Bradwell is just three miles away, residents say that public transport links are poor and the frail elderly residents will face a struggle with the journey.

John Rudrum, chairman of Belton Parish Council, said: “The word upset is an understatement, and we feel let down. They’re strong words but that’s the feeling in the village.

“It always comes down to money but this is at the expense of some 1,200 people.

“A village of this size should have a doctors surgery and people are going to be left out in the cold.

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“It’s only three miles up the road to Bradwell surgery, but the old folk don’t have cars.”

He said people had hoped that a new medical centre could be built, and a public meeting would be arranged to make people’s views known.

And fears have been voiced that villages are being deprived of “basic medical needs” while money is spent on facilities in Southtown and Cobholm.

NHS bosses are in discussion with the county council over public transport routes.

Andy Peck, head of estates and facilities with NHS Norfolk and Waveney, confirmed Belton Surgery would close on June 6 with patients automatically transferred to Millwood Surgery in Bradwell.

“As Belton Surgery is based in a former house, it no longer meets the current building standards needed for NHS services,” he said.

“Over the past two years NHS Norfolk and Waveney and the practice have been looking at a number of different options to see if alternative arrangements could be made.

“Unfortunately it has not been possible to find a financially viable solution.”

He confirmed no jobs will be lost, and all staff and clinics run from the Belton Surgery will relocate to Millwood.

The Bradwell practice is purpose-built and has the capacity to cater for additional patients.

Patients will also remain registered with their original doctor.

“We appreciate that some patients may be concerned about travel arrangements, and will be discussing public transport routes with the county council,” added Mr Peck.

“We also want to set up a patient group to research alternative travel solutions, and would appeal for anyone who would be interested in joining this group to get in touch.”

Anyone interested in joining the patient group should contact Natalie Williams on 01502 719582 or email natalie.williams1@nhs.net