Decision made to approve Holt Medical Practice’s application to close its branch surgery at Blakeney

7th May 2024

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee has today approved an application from Holt Medical Practice to close its branch surgery at Blakeney.

The committee reviewed the application and information provided, including the feedback received from the public and stakeholders across the community through the period of engagement undertaken by the practice, supported by Healthwatch Norfolk, and the ICB’s further period of engagement on the practice’s proposed mitigation of a medicines collection service local to Blakeney. 

Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC) members were invited to approve a recommendation to agree the application to close the Blakeney branch surgery with a request to ensure a local medicines collection service.

Following discussion and a number of questions and comments from members of the public and stakeholders, the recommendation was approved by the committee this afternoon.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer at NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “The ICB recognises that this decision will come as a disappointment to some Blakeney residents, and that this has been a challenging process for the Blakeney community, the patients registered with Holt Medical Practice and for the Practice itself.

“We would like to extend our thanks to all those who took part in the engagement opportunities throughout this process. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part and fed back their views.

“Working together with our health and care system partners, local people and communities, we remain committed to ensuring the provision of high-quality, sustainable primary care services for our local population.”

In a statement, the Partners of Holt Medical Practice, said: “We welcome the outcome of today’s meeting and are pleased that a decision has finally been reached. We are hopeful that this certainty will mean that the Practice and the community can now move forwards and focus on the evolution of a local medicines collection service from an alternative site, to ensure our existing services remain unaffected.

“We recognise that this will be disappointing for some members of the local community but we hope that we can work together to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Our continuing commitment is to provide the best possible care to all our patients.”

Patients in the Blakeney area will continue to have access to the following range of health services and support provided by Holt Medical Practice, all of which are already in place:

  • Routine and urgent face to face appointments and a wide range of other appointments and services at the practice’s main site in High Kelling, where most of its services are provided, or at its site in Melton Constable.
  • Dedicated early visits GP – a GP based at High Kelling who travels across the practice’s area for patients who need to be seen face to face but are clinically housebound
  • Online consultations and telephone consultations where clinically appropriate and to meet patient preference.
  • Medicines home delivery for the practice’s most vulnerable dispensing and pharmacy patients, with the costs met by the practice, as per their criteria with requests considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • 2 duty GPs at all times for urgent clinical needs, and in order to clinically supervise the multi-disciplinary team.
  • Texting patients when their medicines are ready for collection, to avoid wasted journeys or unnecessary queuing.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB will now begin discussions with Holt Medical Practice to agree a closing date for the branch surgery at Blakeney and to progress the practice’s mitigation plans to ensure a medicines collection service local to Blakeney.

Notes to editors:

  • Holt Medical Practice is a large practice (14,200 patients) in North Norfolk covering a large rural area and operating out of three sites.
  • The main surgery at High Kelling is large and purpose-built, providing the full range of clinical services and has been recently extended.
  • Melton Constable Surgery is a recently refurbished surgery with six consultation rooms.
  • Blakeney Surgery is a small branch surgery with two consulting rooms. Services from Blakeney Surgery reduced before the Covid-19 pandemic, in response to patient demand, and it was open for five mornings a week.
  • Like many branch surgeries, due to the pandemic, Blakeney Surgery temporarily closed in March 2020, and face to face clinical services have not since been reinstated.
  • The surgery is open five mornings a week (8am – 1pm) and staffed by a receptionist who provides administrative support to patients and a medicines collection service.
  • Click here for the agenda and papers for today’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee meeting.