Surgery starts petition for new premises
A doctors' surgery yesterday launched a patient petition to support its plans to move out of cramped premises into a purpose-built new centre.The partners at Gorleston Medical Centre, on the town's Magdalen Estate, first presented a business case to the then Yarmouth Primary Care Trust (PCT) to fund a new building on the nearby county council-owned Shrublands Centre site three years ago.
A doctors' surgery yesterday launched a patient petition to support its plans to move out of cramped premises into a purpose-built new centre.
The partners at Gorleston Medical Centre, on the town's Magdalen Estate, first presented a business case to the then Yarmouth Primary Care Trust (PCT) to fund a new building on the nearby county council-owned Shrublands Centre site three years ago.
However, despite the PCT acknowledging the surgery's high priority there has been no progress since then, despite a further meeting with bosses of the successor Yarmouth and Waveney PCT earlier this year when the partners were told the proposal would be taken to the PCT board.
The final straw for surgery staff came last week with the news that the PCT - now renamed NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney - was investing £1m in a new GP surgery in Yarmouth and rebuilding the Falkland Surgery in Bradwell.
Surgery spokesman Dr Ardyn Ross said: “We feel we have perhaps not been made a priority and our patients are suffering as a result.”
She questioned whether it might be more sensible for the PCT to invest in an “existing highly-skilled team serving a deprived area” than a totally new surgery.
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Her colleague Dr Ranjeet Verma said their need was highlighted by the fact there were 2,600 patients on the list when he joined the practice in 1990 - that had since risen to nearly 6,000.
Unlike some other surgeries Gorleston Medical Centre has never closed its list to new patients.
The surgery's most recent partner, Dr Sunder Gopaul, said the problems started for patients as soon as they arrived in their cars, for the centre was in a residential road with poor parking provision.
The doctors agreed it was “complete chaos” at busy times when mothers attending baby clinics had to leave buggies outside.
The current premises are so cramped that two doctors share a room which is also used by the mental health link worker. Nurses, midwives and phlebotomists all use one room.
Dr Ross said new premises would allow them to expand their role as a teaching practice. They would also be able to offer new services to address such issues as obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking cessation and teenage pregnancy.
Sean Perry, estates and services project manager at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “We have been holding discussions with the medical centre and are working with them to develop a full business case for the proposal.
“Once the business case is complete and funding has been put in place, a detailed scheme will be drawn up and taken through the planning process. The views of patients will be a very important part of the process."
A county council spokesman said they were aware of the surgery's historical interest in using the Shrublands site but were awaiting contact from the PCT.