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Village surgery 'winding down'

PUBLISHED: 14:20 11 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

DOCTORS are "winding down" a village surgery ready to close it - before they have even received permission to wield the axe.

Villagers at Trimley and Kirton want the surgery to stay open, though they sympathise with the GPs' reasons for wanting to shut the service.

DOCTORS are "winding down" a village surgery ready to close it – before they have even received permission to wield the axe.

Villagers at Trimley and Kirton want the surgery to stay open, though they sympathise with the GPs' reasons for wanting to shut the service.

But Dr Anthony Davenport and Partners have not yet been given the go-ahead by the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust (PCT) to close their Trimley branch surgery.

No surgeries are being held at the premises in High Road, Trimley St Mary, this week because of illness with the building now being manned sporadically and described as being "wound down".

The partnership decided to close the surgery for a number of reasons, including worries about the safety of staff at the practice as a receptionist working alone had been the victim of persistent and distressing harassment.

But the practice management also says there is "little activity" at the surgery, set up ten years ago as a satellite to the main Central Surgery in Hamilton Road.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council is writing to the PCT to urge it to keep the service open as it is of great benefit to elderly patients and stops them having to travel to Felixstowe.

The council says it "sympathises and understands the doctors' predicament" but does not want to lose it.

Parish councillor Hazel Blackshaw said: "The good points about the surgery are that it is nice and friendly, closer to home and it's not so far to drive as Felixstowe, especially for the people of Kirton.

"But the doctors are concerned about the safety of the staff, it would be very expensive to connect the surgery electronically to the computer system at the main surgery in Felixstowe and so it is becoming out of date."

Councillor David Southgate said the only way to save the surgery from closure was to make it an independent practice – with full-time doctors and staff and its own computer records system – to attract people from the villages to make more use of it.

Dr Davenport and Partners say it is becoming "increasingly difficult and uneconomic" to continue with the surgery. Of the patients seen there, only 40 per cent were from the Trimleys – the rest from Felixstowe – and a significant percentage of those visited by car, not on foot.

There was also no longer a pharmacy in Trimley and so people had to travel to Felixstowe and Walton for their prescriptions.

Suffolk Coastal PCT is carrying out formal consultation and its board will discuss and decide the partnership's application for closure in August.

A planning application to convert the surgery into a house has been withdrawn.

n What do you think – should Trimley surgery be closed? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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