Concern as surgery remains closed for ‘vital’ repair work

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The New Blackmore Vale Magazine News

Questions are being raised by residents in Gillingham over why The Barn Surgery remains shut.

The Barn, which is part of Gillingham Medical Practice, closed on April 14, 2021, due to subsidence, thus allowing for ‘vital’ underpinning and repair work to be carried out. However, resident Richard Lawrence claims he has seen ‘no evidence’ of building work being carried out on site since it closed.

He said: “I am beginning to question the narrative. The surgery was running on an extremely limited service since October 2020 and in April this year, the surgery closed completely. I have seen no contractors on site it the surgery closed.”

Since The Barn Surgery closed, patients must fill out an eConsult form online. If this is not possible, they must answer triage questions on the phone under the Total Triage system.

Mr Lawrence added: “Gillingham needs this surgery. There are many older people living here and they are finding accessing services online extremely difficult. We know the NHS is hard pushed at the moment but the situation in Gillingham doesn’t seem right.”

Disgruntled patients took to Facebook to air their gripes with the continuing closure and the online system for allocating appointments. Gillingham Medical Practice have published an Open Letter on its website to address the many concerns.

A spokesperson of The Barn said: “We reduced services from the Barn Surgery on March 23 2020 as part of our covid response. This enabled us to keep the Barn as a “clean” zone, to see babies and immunosuppressed patients for vital appointments.”

“In early April 2021, we were required to close the Barn completely to allow vital underpinning and repair works to be completed due to significant subsidence and associated damage.”

“We are working closely with our insurers and contractors to complete the works as quickly and efficiently as possible, but clearly do not want to have patients or staff in the building until it is safe to do so.”

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