Free taxi service to be provided for patients at closing Rippingale surgery

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A transport service is being set up to take patients from a rural village to see a doctor following confirmation the village’s own surgery will close.

New Springwell’s Pracitice in Station Road will close on March 31 despite a three-year campaign by the parish council and Rippingale Surgery Action Group, set up by concerned villagers, fighting the closure of the facility since 2009.

Following a meeting on January 10, with the action group and parish council, NHS Lincolnshire has agreed to set up a free taxi service for patients in Rippingale.

The service, starting on April 3, will operate on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, leaving the village shop at 10.30am and returning when all patients have seen the doctor or nurse and collected medication.

Repeat journeys will be made by the taxi if more than four people require transport.

Patients at Rippingale surgery, which currently offers GP services, are registered with New Springwells Practice and will be transferred along with staff to the practice of the same name in Billingborough,

NHS Lincolnshire has allocated £10,000, for a minimum of two years to fund the taxi scheme.

The service is intended for patients who have genuine transport difficulties; such as not having private transport or personal mobility problems.

Chairman of the Rippingale Parish Council Mike Hallas said: “The transport scheme is our bottom line. We have not given up our fight for the surgery in Rippingale to remain open.

“We are very dissatisfied with the reasons given for closing the surgery. We are very unhappy with the situation but we felt that we had to have something in place to protect the vulnerable people the village who do not have transport.

“Co-operation with New Springwells on the transport system is very good but it is only a back up plan in case our continued fight to keep the surgery open is unsuccessful.”

The parish council has recently received new documents about the reasons for the closure of the surgery through a Freedom of Information request which it hopes will help its fight to keep the service in the village.

Patients wishing to use the tax service need to complete an application to register for this service.

The form is available from reception at Billingborough Surgery and Rippingale Surgery, the Rippingale village shop and the clerk to the parish council.

Prescriptions can be obtained by collection from Billingborough Surgery or by the delivery service already in existence. The delivery service is available to all qualifying patients. A secure box will be placed at Ripingale Village Shop for repeat prescription requests.

The transport system will be under regular review by NHS organisations and Rippingale Parish Council.