Help to prevent Rippingale surgery closure

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A PROTEST group fighting to keep a doctors surgery in Rippingale is appealing for villagers to come forward and help them prevent its possible closure.

The protest group needs to hear urgently from Rippingale surgery patients who live outside the village, about what difficulties they would face if the surgery closed,

The group, which has been embroiled in a three year battle to save the doctor’s surgery, has launched a survey to collect the views who patients who would be affected.

There has been a doctor in Rippingale since 1850, but the current service provided by the New Springwells Practice, based in Billingborough announced three years ago that it wished to withdraw from Rippingale.

The news was greeted with dismay by the more than 1,000 patients registered at the practice, many of whom live in surrounding villages.

The protest group was created to fight the plans and it and the parish council have been involved in a series of meetings with Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust and New Springwells.

The result of the meetings earlier in the year was New Springwells putting in a formal application to vary its Rippingale contract with the local NHS trust, to close the village 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trust then advertised for other doctors to take over the service but received only two applications, both of which were withdrawn before the deadline.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 local NHS trust management team put the issue before its board, which said it needed an “impact statement,” before it could reach a decision.

Chairman of the protest group Dr Peter King, said: “No one seems to know what an impact statement is, but we’ve assumed they want to know how Rippingale patients will be affected, particularly the elderly and those without personal transport - bus services to Rippingale are minimal.

“It’s a complicated situation – many families have a car but it’s committed to the wage earner, who leaves the village early and returns late.

“We’ve put a questionnaire round the village but we also need to seek the views of those patients who live elsewhere.”

The questionnaire is printed on page 3 for people affected to fill out and should be returned to The Shop, 5 Middle Street, Rippingale, Bourne PE10 0SU, by post, or by e-mailing Jim Latham on, by August 28.