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Patients running out over health care

PUBLISHED: 03:45 05 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

PATIENTS are preparing to ask a series of tough questions to health bosses at a public meeting after concerns that some people are having to wait up to seven days to see their GP.

PATIENTS are preparing to ask a series of tough questions to health bosses at a public meeting after concerns that some people are having to wait up to seven days to see their GP.

The meeting to discuss health care provision in Stowmarket has been arranged because people moving in to the expanding town revealed that they find it hard to register with doctors, and when they do the can wait for days to get an appointment.

Now the Combs Ford Surgery Patient Group has organised a public meeting for tomorrow, inviting representatives from the local Primary Care Group, Mid Suffolk District and Suffolk County Councils, and their MP David Ruffley.

Mr Ruffley, who represents the town as part of his Bury St Edmunds constituency, blamed central Government for not providing the NHS with enough funds to address the problems facing Stowmarket.

"The local health service is not being given the resources it needs by London Ministers," he said.

"I have been asked by the Combs Ford Surgery Patient Group to look in to some of the problems caused by this starvation of funds. I look forward to a lively meeting.''

The public meeting will address a series of concerns, including questions on large developments getting the go-ahead without proper facilities and funding for the health of residents.

Other issues being raised at the meeting will look at whether funding will be made available for new health care premises or the enlargement of existing ones to cope with the influx of new residents.

Residents are also worried about the decline in transport services in rural areas which make it difficult for some people to visit the doctor.

Keith Myers-Hewitt, from Combs Ford, who is helping organise the meeting, believes the town is facing some major problems and criticised decisions to allow more and more houses to be built in the town without additional health facilities.

There is just one surgery in Combs Ford, and another GP practice on the other side of town.

Dr Gareth Richards, chairman of the Central Primary Care Group and of the Suffolk branch of the British Medical Association, has already told how there is a shortage of GPs in the town, less time spent with patients when they are seen, and longer waiting times to see a doctor.

He has highlighted how fixing the problem is a priority in Stowmarket, with possible options discussed including extra doctors, a new practise or even a mobile surgery.

n The public meeting is being held at the Hillside community centre, Hillside, Combs Ford in Stowmarket tomorrow from 7.30pm.

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