Wainfleet surgery is to re-open - almost two years after it was closed following safety concerns putting more than 2000 patients at risk.
The Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed the practice will open ‘two to three mornings a week’ from April – which has been welcomed by campaigners who fought to save it, in spite of fears the service will not be enough.
Patients were shocked when in November 2016 they received a letter informing them of the suspension of the practice, which initially was expected to be for three months.
The Save Wainfleet Surgery campaign was launched to prevent permanent closure by patients in December 2016.
However, in January 2017, a catalogue of failings which led to the closure of the surgery were revealed in a damning report by Professor Steve Field, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) chief inspector of General Practice,
Fifteen key findings of a two-day inspection in October 2016 were outlined in the report by Professor Field, including keeping out of date drugs and re-using single use items.
Since then, the surgery has remained closed, with the Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) left to arrange temporary accommodation for patients at other practices, mainly the Hawthorn Medical Practice in Skegness.
However, ‘unacceptable’ waiting times for patients trying to book appointments at the Hawthorne Medical Centre were raised at the last meeting of Skegness Town Council.
Coun John Byford, who has received complaints from residents in his Seacroft ward, said: “Elderly patients should not have to queue up outside at 7.30am in the cold to get an appointment.”
Deputy Mayor Coun Sid Dennis said he had heard the pressure on the Hawthorn practice could soon be eased. He said: “I have been informed Wainfleet surgery could soon be re-opening.”
The Standard contacted the CCG, who confirmed plans are in place to offer a limited service in Wainfleet from April.
A spokesman said: “Lincolnshire East CCG is working to agree a new lease at the original Wainfleet GP Surgery premises.
“Once the lease has been agreed we will be working with Hawthorn Medical Practice to deliver a service in Wainfleet, which would be open two to three mornings each week.
“This will enable patients who live in the Wainfleet area to access GP services closer to home, however this will be a limited service and patients will still need to visit the main practice site at Skegness in some cases.
“All patients will remain registered with Hawthorn Medical Practice. We would hope to have primary medical services available again in Wainfleet by April 2018.
“We would like to assure patients that we remain committed to patients receiving the highest quality safe care locally.”
Rebecca Close, of the Save Wainfleet Surgery campaign, said: “The CCG had confirmed sometime ago that, as a result of the campaign last year and the public support, they understood the need for a GP Service to be available in Wainfleet.
“The offer of two or three mornings a week is simply not adequate for Wainfleet’s high elderly and young child numbers.
“The Hawthorn Surgery has obviously tried their best, but people are queuing from between 7-7.30am outside the surgery to secure the on the day appointments, and phone lines are constantly engaged.
“It isn’t the last the CCG have heard from the campaign side of things. It will be back.”