Calls for more communication as future of surgery remains unclear

PUBLISHED: 17:51 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:16 03 February 2020

Walton Surgery in Felixstowe Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Walton Surgery in Felixstowe Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Picture:James Fletcher

Healthwatch Suffolk has called for more communication in the wake of the looming closure of a Suffolk GP surgery.

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of  Healthwatch Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWNAndy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Suffolk GP federation is due to end its contract at the Walton Surgery on July 15.

In a statement last month, the federation said it was "not sustainable" for it to keep managing the practice and said that it had struggled to hire GPs to maintain the surgery.

READ MORE: Fears that Suffolk doctors' surgery could close due to GP shortage

Healthwatch Suffolk has now called for more communication to help patients through the period leading up to the surgery's potential closure.

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Andy Yacoub, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: "The closure of any practice is a worrying time for patients in the local area, and for other services who may potentially struggle to cope with the resulting additional demand.

"It's a familiar adage, but communication really is key during these situations.

"The surgery, the clinical commissioning group, and NHS England regionally, must continue to engage with distressed members of the public - particularly in cases related to vulnerable patients - and ensure that everyone is made aware of their rights when transitioning to another surgery.

"We understand that practices across Felixstowe have commendably responded to the news, and are working to alleviate any concerns surrounding future accessibility and the continuity of services.

"We are liaising with staff at Walton Surgery and the GP Federation to help further encourage efforts to communicate with patients about what impact this will have on their lives, and where they can go if they have any concerns or questions in the coming weeks."

A meeting to discuss the future of the surgery, organised by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, is due to be held on Friday, February 21, from 5-6pm.

Anyone wanting to attend should email or phone 0207 219 7164 by midday on Wednesday, February 19 and the venue will be disclosed to registered constituents.

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