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Wootton GP Relocation Decision Slammed By Prominent Councillor

An Isle of Wight councillor has slammed the decision to permanently move a  GP surgery out of Wootton as essentially a closure.

It comes as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) has today (Wednesday) revealed plans that the ‘temporary relocation’ of Wootton Bridge Medical Centre will be permanent.

‘Significant structural’ issues remain with the surgery building on Brannon Way, nearly two years after they were found, and will now see the practice move to the former NatWest bank on the Riverway Industrial Estate in Newport.

Following the shock announcement, which will affect around 9,000 patients, Cllr Sarah Redrup, the Wootton Bridge ward representative, said it was not a relocation but essentially a GP surgery closure for the village and a new practice for Newport.

She said:

“When this was first raised in 2022, patients were assured this would be a temporary move and now, overnight, it has become a permanent one.

“The practice insists more patients are having telephone appointments and suggests they might not even need to come to the surgery but that is not supported by the data.

“The recent GP survey tells us more than 50 per cent of appointments are face-to-face and over 30 per cent of patients make appointments by walking into the surgery.

“I am extremely concerned this will have a knock-on effect on the capacity of other surgeries, particularly in Ryde, as patients may decide to register elsewhere.

“I just feel this decision cannot be dressed up as the right thing for patients and the people of Wootton, especially at a time when so many are already struggling to get appointments.”

Cllr Ian Dore, representative of the neighbouring Fishbourne and Binstead ward, said there is “nothing of substance” in the information provided by the ICB to patients.

He said:

“Not only is it disgraceful but it is also very regretful community representatives were not engaged ahead of this bombastic announcement.

“Instead those that belong to the practice were informed via text message.”

Cllr Dore said this has come as a hammer blow to patients and will be working alongside Cllr Redrup to see how it can best be handled.

Healthwatch Isle of Wight has confirmed patients have already raised concerns with them about the move and the impact this will have on their ability to access the new surgery.

Joanna Smith, the manager of the health watchdog, said concerns had also been raised about the introduction of a new management team from Solent NHS Trust and the impact it will have on the practice.

She said they will be urging Medina Healthcare to regularly engage with and listen to all of their patients, so measures can be put in place to mitigate difficulties that some people will have in accessing the new surgery and to allay any fears about the new management structure.

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