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Sutton: Drop-in meeting over surgery closure switched to bigger venue

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Stunned by the scale of opposition a ‘drop-in’ meeting at a village surgery to discuss its closure has been moved to a larger venue.

Sutton near Ely residents can now find out more about the closure at a meeting on Tuesday March 7 from 10am to 1pm in the pavilion at the Brooklands Centre, Sutton.

Cllr Lorna Dupre, a local councillor and also a member of the Priors Field surgery patient participation group, announced the switch of venue today.

Microsoft Teams meeting for villagers

She added: “There will also be an evening meeting online the same day at 6pm via Microsoft Teams.”

Meanwhile it has been revealed that Health Secretary and NE Cambs MP is “working to clear a space in his diary” to discuss with council leader Anna Bailey the closure of the Sutton GP surgery.

MP and health minister Steve Barclay on a recent hospital visit. He may meet local council leader Anna Bailey to discuss closure of Sutton village surgery

MP and health minister Steve Barclay on a recent hospital visit. He may meet local council leader Anna Bailey to discuss closure of Sutton village surgery

Cllr Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, says she “managed to speak with Steve Barclay over the weekend (between many meetings he had to attend).

“Steve is very concerned about the situation and is working to clear space in his diary. I have also spoken with Lucy Frazer.”

Impact of dispersing 6,000 patients

Cllr Bailey said: “Everyone is concerned, primarily for Sutton practice patients, as well as the impact of dispersing nearly 6,000 patients onto other practices.”

Mr Barclay told constituents he shares there “disappointment about the closure of the Priors Field Surgery in Sutton on 31 March 2023 following the retirement of GP partners operating there.

“Despite best efforts of NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board to look for possible alternatives, unfortunately options to keep the site open have not been viable at this time”.

Mr Barclay said he understood the concerns and those raised by other patients about access to appointments in Sutton and surrounding villages due to this closure.

“I have been in touch with NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board who will now be holding a series of public meetings to ask patients for their views on future health services in the area,” he said.

“Decisions about the immediate reallocation of patients to other practices are the responsibility of NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board who will contact you directly with details about your registration.

“You can choose an alternative practice to the one which you are allocated from 1 April.”

Priors Field Surgery at Sutton near Ely says the doctors who run the surgery are “taking retirement from the practice” and will terminate their contract on March 31.

Priors Field Surgery at Sutton near Ely says the doctors who run the surgery are “taking retirement from the practice” and will terminate their contract on March 31.

Mr Barclay added: “I recognise that for patients at Priors Field Surgery, it is disappointing that new staff have not been found to take over the contract, but the additional staff at other practices will help to support patients moving over to these surgeries.

“I will work to explore ways in which additional capacity in our local area can be made available to meet the needs of residents.”

He confirmed that NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board are organising a public meeting to explain why the service was unable to be delivered after 31 March 2023, to answer any questions local people have, and to speak to them about how they can support patients best via these new arrangements and about the future.

Of the public meeting on March 7 he said: “Please attend the public meeting to ensure that your views are made directly to NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board.”

On Tuesday Dai Harding, Mags Richardson, and Cllr Dupré from the Priors Field Patient Participation Group met with Dr Gary Howsam, chief clinical improvement officer at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System.

Which services may stay, which may go

In a statement afterwards the group said: “We discussed the views of residents about the circumstances leading up to the present situation and told him that we are now focused on working with him to secure as many primary care services as possible in Sutton and the surrounding villages.

“It is not yet possible to know which services will be re-provided locally or how this might be done. To assist in the work the Integrated Care System wants to know which individual services residents value would especially being delivered in Sutton (or indeed in Mepal or Witcham).

“More later about how we will canvas opinion on this, but in the meantime, we ask patients to think about it.”

The group confirmed that the first drop-in advertised by the practice for Tuesday 7 March from 10:00AM to 1:00PM is “now being repurposed by the Integrated Care System as a public meeting led by NHS chiefs.

“We fed back the views of residents that many would also want an evening meeting and were assured that this is being worked on”.

The statement added: “Today’s meeting was constructive, and we believe that the Integrated Care System is open to working with residents to design whatever model is possible to provide at least some NHS primary care services in and immediately around Sutton.

“In the meantime, the process of ‘managed list dispersal’ of our patients to other practices is being implemented as planned, so that everyone has a GP from 1 April.

“We came away feeling confident that the voice of residents on recent events had been heard loud and clear.”

One side effect of the closure is that people may be reluctant to buy a home in the village.

Property market could suffer

One local estate agent posted to social media that “I have sold so many properties to elderly people coming to the village specifically for the doctors surgery being walking distance – or families where parents don’t drive so a surgery needed to be within walking distance”.

Another agent said: “I’ve already had someone cancel an appointment in Sutton as they saw this all in the news and didn’t want to get involved in it all.”

Cllr Dupre added that the patient group had made it clear that an evening meeting for residents to discuss the closure was needed.

She said: “We’re told this is being planned.”

Fenland Group Practice had originally posted that they would host a series of drop-in sessions for patients on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 7th March: 10am – 1pm
  • Wednesday 8th March: 1pm – 4pm

The practice said there is “no need to book, these sessions will provide the opportunity for patients to come along and ask any questions they may have.  These will take place at Priors Field Surgery”.

It also posted distances and estimated driving times to patients who will now go to other GP surgeries.

Haddenham surgery is closest (3.7 miles) followed by George Clare surgery at Chatteris is which 6.8miles away and St Mary’s, Ely 8.4 miles aways.

The furthest could be the Fenland Group Practice at Ramsey which they say is 15.4 miles away with an estimated drive time of 25 minutes.

The group practice said: “The GP Partners at Priors Field Surgery who currently hold a contract to deliver services at Priors Field Surgery are taking retirement from the practice and have served notice to terminate their contract.

“As a result, we regret to inform you that Priors Field Surgery will close when this contract ends on 31 March 2023.”

 

 

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