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‘Dedication and team work’ ensured GP practices remained open as region was engulfed in snow

PUBLISHED: 11:15 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 05 March 2018

Maria Flood, Practice Manager at Harlseton Medical Practice, got into work by tractor. Photo: Maria Flood

Maria Flood, Practice Manager at Harlseton Medical Practice, got into work by tractor. Photo: Maria Flood

Maria Flood

Staff at Norfolk’s GP surgeries slept in staff rooms, drove patients home, and conducted appointments over the phone from their stricken cars in a bid to keep services running during the big freeze.

Stories of determination from across the region’s NHS first emerged after the Beast from the East brought snow and icy conditions to the region last week.

Paramedics battled through snow for nine hours to reach a patient, while other staff took on mammoth walks to reach their places of work.

At Mundesley Medical Centre operations manager Lynsey Wayte went to the surgery on Wednesday night, staying overnight in the staff room to make sure she was at work the next day.

And to ensure they were prepared, the practice decided to do the week’s drug deliveries to patients in advance.

Linda Marquis, managing partner at the practice, said: “I cannot praise the members of our team, especially Lynsey Wayte, for their dedication and team work to ensure that the practice remained open and provided care to those in need, during the difficult weather conditions of this week .”

At Harleston Medical Practice, practice manager Maria Flood made her way to work on a farmer’s tractor after waking up to 4ft snow drifts.

She said: “All of our GPs set off at 6am to make the 30 minute journey into work but all ended up stranded. They had mobile wifi and laptops in their cars so were able to make calls and triage patients as usual whilst awaiting rescue.

“When I arrived at the practice, it was myself and one dispenser who had walked into work on their day off to help, and we were able to open as usual, with all the GPs making it in eventually via a significant detour.”

Farmers from Stokesby and Coltishall also volunteered to help deliver medication for Acle Medical Centre.

And staff worked from surgeries closer to home. Dr Michael Noble, usually based at Acle, could not make it into work and instead offered his services to Stalham Staithe surgery, while a nurse instead went to Ludham.

At Reepham and Aylsham Medical Practice, a GP even drove a patient home. A spokesman said: “Dr Pearce had to drive a lady home who got stuck at Aylsham and had no way back to Reepham. Reception contacted every taxi and transport service and nobody would come out to take her home so a GP did.”

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