PCT seeks views on proposal to extend medical centre's opening hours

A public consultation is under way to find out what people think of a proposal to extend the opening hours of a Great Yarmouth medical centre.

A public consultation is under way to find out what people think of a proposal to extend the opening hours of a Great Yarmouth medical centre.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT), which manages The Nelson Medical Centre on the site of the old Estcourt Hospital in Churchill Road, wants its opening hours to increase from 50 a week to 65 in 2008.

The centre, which is based in temporary accommodation, currently opens 8.30am-6.30pm Monday-Friday (except bank holidays) but the PCT wants it to open 8am-8pm Monday-Friday (except bank holidays) and also 8am-1pm on Saturdays.

It will be relocated next year to a purpose-built extension at the Cobholm & Lichfield Health & Resource Centre in Pasteur Road, Cobholm, when the PCT will relinquish its management role.

The PCT is running a consultation until 30 June to give patients, members of the public and interested organisations an opportunity to give their views. This will include organising public information events and meetings with interested parties which will be advertised on the PCT’s website (see below).

Adrian Grant, PCT Commissioning Manager, said: “People living in Cobholm have been campaigning for about 25 years to have a surgery located in their area and the PCT is right behind them.

“But improving access to primary care medical services is not just about location but also about opening hours which is why we are proposing Saturday morning opening and earlier starts and later finishes on weekdays.”

Mr Grant said patients currently registered with the practice will continue to be registered unless they express a wish to go elsewhere and priority will be given to those who have mobility problems and, consequently, find travel difficult.

Under a new national initiative called Fairness in Primary Care, a programme intended, in part, to provide patients with better access to family doctors, the Department of Health is inviting “expressions of interest” from health care providers to take over the management of The Nelson Medical Centre when it moves next year. A tender process will follow.

Among the services to be provided will be a full range of primary care services, such as vaccinations and immunisations, minor surgery, cervical screening and contraceptive services, plus specialist services, such as child and adult obesity and sexual health services.

A public consultation by Great Yarmouth Teaching Primary Care Trust (tPCT) in late 2005 confirmed there was strong community support for The Nelson Medical Centre to move to long-term accommodation in the Cobholm and Southtown ward.

* The consultation document is available on the PCT’s website – visit www.gywpct.nhs.uk and click on “News”. Responses can be posted to Adrian Grant at Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT at 1 Common Lane North, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 9BN or emailed to him at adriangrant@nhs.net

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