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Lakeside Healthcare's engagement period over closure of St Mary's Medical Centre in Stamford ends on Sunday

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A period of public engagement for people to express their views on the closure of a GP surgery ends on Sunday.

Lakeside Stamford, which runs two GP surgeries in Stamford, launched online ‘engagement events’ and a survey after announcing that it will close St Mary’s Medical Centre in Wharf Road on December 1.

The closure will mean the Sheepmarket Surgery, which it also operates, will become the only NHS surgery in town and will cater for more than 30,000 patients.

Protestors against the closure of St Mary's Medical Centre in Stamford
Protestors against the closure of St Mary's Medical Centre in Stamford

Lakeside’s five public engagement events attracted 108 visitors who asked staff 200 questions. Its online survey has so far received about 1,300 responses.

A petition started by the Lakeside Stamford Patient Participation Group with a view to preventing the closure of St Mary’s has gained more than 2,300 signatures on paper and online.

Chairman of the group, Andrew Nebel, has also received more than 270 letters, emails and online posts objecting to the closure, which he will share with NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). A CCG committee will review Lakeside’s proposal and patient feedback before making a decision on the closure.

Many patients have expressed concerns that the Lakeside service - which they feel already has weaknesses - will go downhill if St Mary’s closes and have called for it to remain open.

Patient Jacqueline Tanner is one of those who has given feedback. She said: “The decision made after Sunday is dependent on people making their views known, and if people choose to snooze then we all lose. This is our opportunity.

“If people have questions, concerns, or anything they want Lakeside to address, it has to be before Sunday.”

Although generally happy with the quality of service she has received in the past, Jacqueline fears this will not continue with a single practice trying to cope with the population of Stamford and some of the surrounding

St Mary's Medical Centre, Stamford
St Mary's Medical Centre, Stamford

Among the concerns expressed by patients are the limited number of parking spaces at the Sheepmarket Surgery site, which is at Stamford Hospital off Ryhall Road; long waiting times for appointments and for prescriptions; and being kept on hold while waiting for the surgery phones to be answered.

Meanwhile, some Lakeside Stamford patients have been voting with their feet.

Wansford and King’s Cliffe Practice is currently receiving about 30 new patients a week who live ‘out of area’.

Dr Rhiannon Nally, from the practice, said while the surgery was happy to take on new patients, they sympathised with the situation that doctors and patients are facing in Stamford.

She also said patients were relocating from the recently closed Ailsworth Medical Centre.

The Deepings Practice and Empingham Medical Centre were also contacted to see if they were receiving more patients from the Stamford area.

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