Doctor’s surgery cuts opening hours with appointments moved three miles away

North Caister medical centre is now closed three afternoons a week. Picture: Joseph Norton

North Caister medical centre is now closed three afternoons a week. Picture: Joseph Norton - Credit: Archant

A doctor’s surgery will be closed three afternoons a week with patients having to travel more than three miles for an appointment during those times.

North Caister medical centre made the changes almost a month ago in an attempt to make the most of "limited resources".

The surgery which has 3,500 patients is closed on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after 1pm.

Residents who want an appointment during these times have to travel to Hemsby to be seen by a doctor or nurse.

Ivan Fraser, 76, who has lived in Caister for three years said he was disappointed with the changes.

He said: "It would be much better if the surgery was open every afternoon and would certainly make it easier to get an appointment here.

"If I'm honest I don't usually have to wait too long to get an appointment but it does depend what your problem is."

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The medical centre, which is part of a group of surgeries belonging to The Coastal Partnership, was previously closed two afternoons a week.

Practice manager, Sharon Marsden, said: "We recognise that we do have patients who are unable to go to another surgery and we are mindful of this when booking appointments.

"The changes have allowed us to make the very best use of our limited resources, creating a multidisciplinary team of general practitioners, nurse practitioners, paramedics, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare assistants."

The surgery in Caister is open on a Saturday morning to offer extended hours and improved access for Great Yarmouth.

Alice Scally, who has lived in Caister for 30 years, said she wasn't concerned by the reduced opening hours.

"I've not heard anyone complaining they haven't been able to book an appointment here," she said.

"Personally I haven't had any problems and having to travel to Hemsby doesn't really bother me."

Another resident said it could be difficult to book an appointment at times but didn't believe the additional afternoon closure would make the problem much worse.

The centre is open 8.30am to 6.30pm on Mondays, 8.30am to 5.30pm on Fridays and 8.30pm to 1pm Tuesdays to Thursdays.