Survey raises fears over surgery in Rippingale

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HUNDREDS of people have responded to a survey sent out to help a protest group to keep the doctors surgery in Rippingale open.

HUNDREDS of people have responded to a survey sent out to help a protest group to keep the doctors surgery in Rippingale open.

The Rippingale Surgery Closure Action Group published a survey and distributed it door to door in the village, appealing for patients at the surgery to fill it in with their concerns about the possible closure of the surgery.

The current service in Station Road, Rippingale, is provided by the New Springwells Practice, based in Billingborough, which announced three years ago that it wanted to withdraw from the village.

More than 200 patients at the Rippingale surgery responded to the survey with more than half highlighting concerns about the lack of transport options to other surgeries in Billingborough or Bourne.

Member of the protest group and parish councillor Jim Latham said: “Nearly half the respondents were concerned about having to travel to Billingborough if the surgery closed.

“Even people with their own cars said out of convenience they would prefer the surgery to stay in the village.”

Mr Latham highlighted the fact that there is a lack of public transport available in the village and the bus service that does run is so infrequent that users may have to wait hours between buses.

He said: “While there are many multi-car families there are also plenty of households who only have one car which goes out with the bread winner all day, making getting to another village difficult.”

The group has sent a letter with the findings of their survey to NHS Lincolnshire which is in the process of carrying out a study to find out how closing the surgery would impact its users.

Mr Latham said: “We still can’t understand why they want to close the surgery it seems to be ignoring the facts. When you try and book an appointment it takes nearly a week to get one, but they say there isn’t the demand for it.”

Senior contracts manager for NHS Lincolnshire Adrian Audis said: “The board of NHS Lincolnshire will consider a number of options before a decision is made about the future of services at Rippingale Surgery.

“We are committed to securing high quality care for patients in and around Rippingale and continue to work closely with the partners at Springwells Practice to secure the healthcare of local people.”

The protest group has been involved in a three-year battle to save the surgery. Along with the parish council the group has been involved in a series of meetings with NHS Lincolnshire and New Springwells.

Earlier this year the New Springwells Practice applied to the trust to vary its service, including a proposal to close the Rippingale surgery.

The trust then advertised for other doctors to take over the service but received only two applications, both of which were withdrawn before the deadline.

The NHS trust management team put the issue before its board, which said it needed an “impact statement” before it could reach a decision.

The Rippingale surgery is open two-and -a-half days a week. The Billingborough surgery is open Monday to Friday and has a late-night clinic.