New lease of life for Haverhill’s healthcare services

The Christmas Maltings surgery in Haverhill
The Christmas Maltings surgery in Haverhill

Health care in Haverhill looks to have taken a step forward with the confirmation that a new lease has been agreed for the Christmas Maltings building in Camps Road.

The Suffolk GP Federation, which manages the Christmas Maltings and Clements Practice, told the Echo that the lease for the Christmas Maltings building had been agreed in principle but still had to be approved by NHS England.

The intention, says the federation, is to keep the building open so that it can be used for physio and nurse-led clinics. The hope is that it will also host hospital services.

A new phone system, which is a standard GP practice phone system, but an improvement on the one that is currently installed, is also expected to be introduced.

A federation spokesman said it was a large piece of infrastructure work so had taken time to put in place.

David Pannell, chief executive of Suffolk GP Federation, who spoke to councillors at Monday’s full meeting of Haverhill Town Council, said: “Christmas Maltings and Clements continues to operate under severe pressure.

“Two GPs have recently resigned and another is currently on long-term sick leave.

“This means there are just three full-time equivalent doctors working at the practice – when we need at least seven.

“Despite our continued efforts to proactively find replacements, a national shortage of GPs means that we have so far been unsuccessful.

“To ensure that we can continue to offer safe and appropriate care to our patients we need to protect our workforce – otherwise the situation will only get worse.

“To do this we have to change the way Christmas Maltings and Clements Practice operates and we can no longer provide all the services our patients expect.

“We will be communicating these changes to patients in the coming weeks. We recognise that it has been a challenging time and would like to thank patients for their continued cooperation.”