Richard Freeman: Where could the new health centre go?


We are told that Borough Lane surgery and the Rectory Practice are to join up. In some ways this is inevitable – the NHS encourages the production of ‘super practices’ in centres of population. Also, the senior partners in all three of the town’s practices are due for retirement.

So, what’s in it for their patients? Most people do not like change. And the patients of Borough Lane surgery certainly won’t be keen to drag across town to Castle Street in future.

There is talk of a specialist unit being constructed within Saffron Walden hospital. But the hospital is out on the edge of town – with limited public transport. It also costs to park there.

What about a site in town? There are a few which might be suitable:

· The Boys’ British School, in East Street. It has parking for ~20 cars, and the owners have been trying to sell it for years; very central
· The former Methodist Chapel in Castle Street (not ideal for parking, though)
· Fairycroft House; currently owned by Essex County Council (which would love to be rid of it). It too has lots of parking

We need some ‘out of the box thinking’ here. And the GPs need to be consulting with their patients, instead of presenting them with a fait accompli

The outcome should be to improve patient access, not make it more difficult.

Dr Richard Freeman (Member of Essex Healthwatch Strategic Body)