Patients protesting to save Wainfleet surgery have been told health officials have listened to their pleas – leaving them hopeful they will see it open again.
A statement released by the Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this afternoon said: “We have listened to local people and our preferred option is to provide a level of service in Wainfleet.
Anything is better than what we have now, which is nothing.Coun Mick Rust
“We are exploring a number of possibilities but for legal and contractual reasons cannot expand on this at the moment.”
The CCG met in Boston at lunchtime today to discuss the future of the surgery.
They went into closed session for part of the meeting at Venture House on the Endeavour Park in Boston, following consultations held in Wainfleet and Skegness last month.
Wainfleet Surgery’s registration was suspended for three months in November after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about patient safety, leaving 2,200 patients without a local doctor.
Simon Hopkinson of the CCG said the statement issued may seem vague, but the final outcome depends on who comes forward to offer the service.
He said: “Reports in the media saying the surgery will not re-open are untrue. We have never said this - after all it was not our decision to close the surgery. But at this stage we cannot say how the service will be delivered - that will be for the CCG to go away and discuss.
“However, we hope that the public will see today’s meeting as something positive in that a level of service will be delivered in Wainfleet.”
After the meeting, MP Matt Warman said: “Although the venue and provider and the general details are yet to be ironed out through contracts, this is a step on the road to the good news that was hoped for.
“My expectation is that a larger practice, for instance Beacon or Hawthorn, will express an interest in running a local branch-type service, providing a mixture of nurse and doctor-led services. Some of this could in due course also be a mobile service, which would allow easier access for people in more rural areas than Wainfleet itself.
“All of this is a continuing situation, but we would not be where we are were it not for the persistence of groups such as Save Our Surgery - Wainfleet
“I will of course continue to apply the pressure. I do not believe it is acceptable to ask the old, the young who often have no transport or the vulnerable to travel from Wainfleet to Skegness to access basic health services.”
Rebecca Close, 33, of the Save Our Surgery - Wainfleet group who organised a protest last month, said she was thrilled with the news. She said: “A lot of people are still saying the surgery is going to close which just isn’t true.
“I plan to carry on doing what I’m doing which is to liaise with the CCG about the opinion of the residents and will do everything I can to support them.”
The news has also been welcomed by Coun Mick Rust of Wainfleet Town Council. He said: “At least we got something. As long as there is some level of service I think the council will be happy with that.
“Anything is better than what we have now, which is nothing. Our concern has always been for the elderly residents without cars. Although the surgeries in Skegness are only five miles away, if they went by train they would still have to get to the other side of town which would be difficult for them.”