A community group is being formed after more than 1,300 people signed a petition in a fight to keep a doctors’ surgery in a village.
The Hopton Surgery, in High Street, which is linked with the Stanton Surgery, is run by Doctor Andrew Hassan and Partners but doubt has been cast for a number of years as to what will happen to the facility when he retires as it is run from a private house.
Meanwhile a question mark hangs over proposals - drawn up in consultation with villagers - for a new surgery as part of wider development in the village.
A petition, organised by Hopton Parish Cllr June Plackett, has more than 1,300 signatures to ensure there remains a surgery in the village and will be presented to Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Suffolk Matthew Hancock tomorrow.
A group is also being formed featuring community leaders from affected villages including Hopton, Barningham, Market Weston, Coney Weston and Thelnetham.
County Cllr Joanna Spicer, who is leading the campaign, says it is important a surgery remains in Hopton as otherwise residents could be forced to travel to Stanton.
She said public transport to Stanton is ‘poor’, Hopton has a ‘high proportion of elderly people’ and residents chose to live in the village due to a doctors’ surgery.
Cllr Spicer chaired a public meeting in Barningham last month attended by more than 150 people and NHS Executive managers. She said: “We want NHSE to recognise the distress and problems that would be caused if they failed to support a new surgery. I am meeting them later in April to request that all the possible options be worked up by them with the GPs involved and presented for wide consultation.”
A statement on the Hopton and Stanton Surgeries website said: “The GP Partners are currently considering the many options for future planning and no decisions have been taken. As soon as we have more information we will let our patients and partners know.” A spokesman on behalf of the practice said Dr Hassan is due to retire this calendar year and the property will still be available to use as a surgery for a period of time following his retirement.
A spokesperson for NHS England East said ‘no final decisions have been made’. They added: “We are currently in discussions with the practice regarding the possible options when the current surgery closes to ensure that patients will continue to access local high-quality GP services.”