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Petition started to keep midwife services in Harleston

Wortwell, Norfolk. Lucie Oakes who's unhappy with the midwife service being withdrawn from the Harleston Medical Centre ANL-141217-163755001
Wortwell, Norfolk. Lucie Oakes who's unhappy with the midwife service being withdrawn from the Harleston Medical Centre ANL-141217-163755001

Petition to keep services in Harleston

Some services, including midwifery, will no longer be offered at the Paddock Road Surgery, part of the Harleston Medical Practice, in Paddock Road.

Practice manager Maria Flood said certain restrictions under the lease had resulted in the withdrawal of some services.

Lucie Oakes, from Wortwell, who has signed the petition and is seven months pregnant with her second child, said some parents “were disgusted” at the thought people would have travel nine miles to Long Stratton for similar services.

Miss Oakes added demand was so high in Harleston when pregnant with first child, India Smith-Oakes, who turns two today, that they were often fully booked.

“There are people who cannot drive or rely on the bus routes,” she said. “They have not thought it through.

“They are building houses (in Harleston) but they are not keeping any services here.

“I am now getting to the point where I cannot physically drive but they still want me to drive to Long Stratton to have a check up.”

Mrs Flood said: “We appreciate the concerns being expressed by patients on how they access services from the surgery.

”Many of these are delivered by external providers including midwifery.

“Paddock Road Surgery is a leased building provided under terms which pre-date the current partnership.

The lease imposes certain restrictions on us which have led to this situation.

“The practice has attempted to find a solution that would be permitted in terms of the lease agreement and acceptable to community service providers. We will continue to explore possibilities with NHS England and other local bodies.

“As a practice we will continue to offer a full range of general practice services and we consider training GPs as being vital in enabling the practice to move forward.

“Training new GPs is key to improving access, delivering quality services and ensuring sustainability of medical provision for the future in Harleston.

“Other market towns such as Diss, Long Stratton, Wymondham and Attleborough have separate Health Centres, in addition to the GP surgery.

“The practice can see the benefit of the integrated approach that this model allows. Health Centres act as a base for community services including: physiotherapy, podiatry, community nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, leg ulcer clinics, dietetics, health visitors and mental health practitioners.”

If applicant Mendham Lane Ltd also gained approval on a second stage ‘reserved matters’ application in the future for 35 homes in Mendham Lane, Harleston , it could see recent developments in the area exceed 350 homes, with 204 properties already built on another site nearby and a further 120 on their way after Persimmon Homes attained planning permission for a third site off Mendham Lane.

Redenhall with Harleston Town Council chairman Barry Woods admitted it was a concern, but said there was not much the authority could do.

“Regardless of the fact we are getting new homes that have been given planning permission I think it is a concern to all of the residents in Harleston if we start losing services,” he said.

“We certainly don’t want to lose any services and at these times the council makes its enquiries and representations where possible.

“The council is great believers that Harleston deserves the best it can get in terms of services.

“Although there is not a lot we (the council) can do about it, we would prefer that it did not happen.”

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