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Health leaders to be quizzed on plans for five Ipswich GP 'super surgeries'

PUBLISHED: 20:34 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 20:34 03 January 2019

The Two Rivers Medical Centre in Ipswich could be the model for how other 'super surgeries' in Ipswich are operated Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Two Rivers Medical Centre in Ipswich could be the model for how other 'super surgeries' in Ipswich are operated Picture: GREGG BROWN

Health leaders involved in plans for a series of GP 'super-surgeries' in Ipswich have been invited to a task force meeting to outline their vision.

Sandra Gage, chairman of Ipswich Borough Council's task and finish group on GP surgeries, said many questions needed to be answered Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILSandra Gage, chairman of Ipswich Borough Council's task and finish group on GP surgeries, said many questions needed to be answered Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

A report presented to Suffolk County Council’s health scrutiny in October voiced plans by clinical commissioners to create five hubs across town where GP services could unite.

While it has not yet been made clear where these hubs would be located, or which surgeries would be required to merge, it is understood it could operate in a similar way to the Two Rivers Medical Centre in Woodbridge Road, combining primary care with minor surgery facilities.

Ipswich Borough Council set up a task force to assess the impact of the plans, with that group now set to invite health leaders behind the plans to outline in detail how it will work in its next meeting on January 23.

Task group chairman councillor Sandra Gage said: “There is so much we need to ask questions on.

The housing development planned for the former Tooks Bakery site in Ipswich is expected to be the home of one of the new surgeries Picture: GREGG BROWNThe housing development planned for the former Tooks Bakery site in Ipswich is expected to be the home of one of the new surgeries Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Those five hubs were first identified quite a few years ago and it’s not clear to us whether that’s changed since we have had the Two Rivers and the Tooks Bakery housing development will probably get one.

“There is a huge question of how you convert the individual businesses of GP practice.”

Ms Gage said there were also questions over what happens in the interim between the hubs being announced and created, as well as communicating changes to patients.

Representatives from Suffolk County Council, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, the GP Federation, NHS Estates and Suffolk Primary Care are set to be invited to the meeting where they will be quizzed on how the surgeries would be funded, where they will be located, whether the same range of services will be provided and what will happen to existing practices.

It is hoped that a network of super surgeries will drive down costs and improve communication between different health organisations, although fears have been raised by members of the public that it could result in the friendly and personable services some smaller GP surgeries offer being lost.

The task force is also planning to create an Ipswich GP directory for people to find out where their nearest surgery is and whether the services on offer are appropriate.

The borough council’s scrutiny committee is set to debate the issue in full at its July meeting.

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