Just what the doctor ordered

IT HAS been a ten-year battle but a Suffolk doctor has finally realised his dream of expanding his surgery.Dr Paul Thomas, who runs the Gipping Valley Practice in Barham could hopefully see the opening of the new permanent building as early as December.

By Jessica Nicholls

IT HAS been a ten-year battle but a Suffolk doctor has finally realised his dream of expanding his surgery.

Dr Paul Thomas, who runs the Gipping Valley Practice in Barham could hopefully see the opening of the new permanent building as early as December.

He started the surgery from scratch with himself and a practice nurse, but it is hoped that another three doctors will join the surgery in the future.


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The outspoken GP said he has had several run-ins with the former Suffolk Health over the building of a new practice, but now feels fully supported by the new Primary Care Trust, which took over from the authority in April.

For the past ten years he has been working from a mobile building in Norwich Road in the village, which he felt might affect the confidence of new patients, giving the impression the surgery was only temporary.

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The new surgery is to be built next door and the car park is already in place.

Dr Thomas said: "When I came here ten years ago, it was to start a surgery for the village. What I thought would take me about five years to build up has taken me twice as long as expected.

"At the moment we are in a temporary building which causes nervousness because people don't want to register as they think I might be leaving soon.

"At the end of the day I am confident that once we get the new building here we will be able to provide the patients with the service they need."

This is the second time that Dr Thomas has embarked on the venture of expanding the surgery.

He said: "Three years ago I was all set to build a three doctor practice.

"It was about to go out to tender but we were told (by the health authority) that it was too large and we had to go back to the drawing board."

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