New surgery plans ‘ground to a halt’

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PLANS to replace a ‘totally inadequate’ doctors surgery have ‘ground to a halt’ due to funding uncertainties posed by health service reforms, a patient spokesperson has revealed.

Beacon Medical Practice had developed plans and identified a new location for its Chapel St Leonards branch after patient surveys indicated widespread dissatisfaction with its current facility in the village.

Skegness and Coast Patient Participation Group (PPG) has now revealed that the project has stalled due to funding issues posed by the imminent disbanding of Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust (LPCT) and uncertainty across the health service as to how such projects will be financed in the future.

Group chairman Richard Enderby said: “Everyone had been working towards a new surgery, many local people are still expecting it but now its all hanging fire.

“In the meantime Chapel St Leonards has a surgery that is totally unsuitable in terms of size, waiting areas, room for doctors and parking - it’s no longer fit for purpose.”

The LPCT had been involved in the project as its likely source of funding, however that ended with the government’s decision to disband every PCT in the country.

After its cessation, many of LPCT’s functions will be transferred to GPs leading the East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, however its contractual responsibilities for GP practices will pass to another organisation - the National Commissioning Board.

A spokesperson for the LPCT explained that although it was working to support a ‘smooth transition’, the NCB is not scheduled to take over until April next year.

Mr Enderby believes the health secretary Andrew Lansley’s rushed Health Bill has created the uncertainty which has hindered this project. He said: “The health forms were rushed through as one of the fastest pieces of legislation ever passed and a lot of the information was withheld by the government. At this point in time we don’t know who the money will come from for this sort of thing - there are more questions than answers.”

The PPG asked parish councils in the surgery’s catchment area to support its campaign funding and received unanimous agreement.

Next it is to launch a public petition which patients are invited to sign by attending their nearest Beacon Medical Branch.