Hundreds of Burnham-on-Crouch residents protest over GP surgery

Protest march in Burnham-on-Crouch
Hundreds turned out in protest about their GP surgery potentially moving to the outskirts of town

More than 200 people marched through a town to protest about the possible relocation of a central GP surgery.

Some residents of Burnham-on-Crouch are angry about the potential move of The Burnham Surgery to the outskirts of the Essex town.

Campaigners at a packed-out public meeting in August argued the current location was "essential" and a move would impact people without transport.

Local NHS healthcare services said no decision had been made.

Residents were made aware of the potential move of the surgery from Foundry Lane when an email from the NHS was shared on social media.

The Burnham Surgery
Residents are angry the surgery could move from its current Foundry Lane site

It said moving services to the Burnham Waters retirement development had been considered and "an appraisal of options to enhance primary care provision" had been carried out.

"The assessment concluded a new-build surgery at Burnham Waters offers the best solution", it added.

Many of those living in the town raised concerns at a meeting in the summer about the "lack of consultation" and accessibility issues if the surgery left the town centre.

Ted Dennerley
Ted Dennerley said he feared the journey to the proposed new site would be dangerous for him

Resident Ted Dennerley, 86, who relies on a mobility scooter, said it would be "getting on the verge of being dangerous" for him to get to the proposed new site.

Meanwhile, fellow protester Janet Coombes, 85, said she was marching "on behalf of other older people and people with babies, who haven't got cars".

"The main thing is, I don't want the surgery to move out of the town," she said.

If the move goes ahead, she said she "probably wouldn't go to the doctor" or might have to find a private service.

Lyn McHugh
Lyn McHugh said keeping the surgery in town was "essential"

Lyn McHugh, 78, said her husband was "not a well person and people cannot travel... to a new surgery".

"We want our surgery to stay where it is, in the town - it's essential.

Rachel Evorall, spokesperson for Burnham SOS (Save Our Surgery) group, said the move would mean those without transport would be faced with a 50-minute walk, some of which was not paved.

Rachel Evorall
Rachel Evorall was one of those leading the march through the town

"It just means lots of people won't be able to go to their GP which will mean detrimental health outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in Burnham," she said.

"Our position is, until the ICB (Integrated Care Board), until the GPs says it's not going to happen, we're going to continue campaigning."

She said a public meeting in the summer and a petition had the support of "thousands" and was critical of the way the public had been kept informed.

A message on the surgery's website said despite rumours no decision has been made on moving the practice. It said the team was working with partners to explore a number of options and that they were committed to being transparent.

The BBC has asked the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) to comment on the latest protest.

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