Saffron Walden surgery merger gets mixed reaction

Rectory Practice, Castle Street

Rectory Practice, Castle Street - Credit: Archant

The proposed surgery merger in Saffron Walden, which could see two premises in the town combined as soon as April next year, has prompted concerns about the accessibility of the new services, with others unsure that the current “brilliant” service can be surpassed.

Last week, Borough Lane surgery, which also has premises in Great Chesterford, announced a proposal to merge with Rectory Practice on Castle Street as ‘Crocus Medical Practice’. Under the idea, the Great Chesterford surgery would remain open, but the Borough Lane property would close and relocate to Castle Street, where patients will be seen until a “purpose-built” solution in the town is found.

The new surgery would offer extended opening hours, as well as the same number of doctors, nurses and clinicians as was previously at the disposal of patients, Borough Lane GP practice manager Linda Ainscough told the Reporter last week.

However, Castle Ward town councillor Beryl Wardley, a patient at Borough Lane surgery, is opposed to the merger.

“Borough Lane surgery has been absolutely brilliant so I can’t see how it can be improved,” she said.

“I feel we have an excellent relationship with the Borough Lane surgery. I live the other side of town – in the Audley Ward (on Auton Croft) – and would rather continue to visit this surgery.

“But my daughter lives in Castle Ward, and she feels perhaps they will benefit.”

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Mother-of-three Sharon Morris, 42, was concerned about the accessibility of the Castle Street surgery for those who live on the other side of town.

“They have dressed up the merger as improvements to services, extended opening hours and so on,” she said. “I can’t say anything against that, but location is my biggest concern.

“There’s not much parking there and my concern is that elderly people and those with no access to cars will find it much, much harder to get there.”

A public meeting, to give people a chance to have their say on the merger, will be held on December 8 at 7.45pm at St Mary’s church parish rooms.