Letter blunder over health centre plans

Karen Christie
Karen Christie

A BEMUSED mother has questioned why a doctors’ surgery has addressed a letter to her infant son asking him to support new health centre proposals.

The letter, from the Market Weighton Surgery on Londesborough Road, was sent to Karen Christie’s nine-year-old son Max asking him to sign a form in support of proposals to build a new health centre in the town.

Another Market Weighton youngster, 11-year-old Lucy Dickinson also received a letter which was opened by her mother Lyndsey.

They are part of thousands sent out by the surgery to gain support for proposals by Lovel Developments to build a new health centre and 49 houses on land adjoining Northgate Vale and Holme Road.

A statement from the GP Partners of Market Weighton, Drs Webster, Dr Buswell and Dr Henderson, says that the letters were sent to children as a ‘regrettable administration error’.

Karen said that she was surprised that the surgery was addressing letters directly to children.

She said: “I am registered at the surgery, but I didn’t receive one of these letters, yet my nine-year-old son did, which I thought was a bit strange.

“It was hand delivered and addressed to Max, but I opened it because he is only nine and I had no idea what would be in it.

“I was surprised when I saw that they were asking him to sign a letter of support - obviously he wont be signing anything!”

In a statement to the Pocklington Post, the GP partners of the Market Weighton Surgery said: “We have noted the criticism of the proposals which has come from some people living near the development site.

“In order to try and allay any concerns people may have we are in the process of sending thousands of letters to households in the area.

“This is part of the open approach which we have adopted to this matter and which began with a public presentation of the plans at the surgery last month.

“In sending those letters to households it would appear we have inadvertently addressed two of them to minors. This has resulted from a regrettable administration error for which we apologise.

“We will undertake an audit trail to minimise the risk of any such error in the future, and if the families involved would like to contact us it will help us do that.

“Whilst we do not take this error lightly we hope it does not detract from what we are trying to achieve, which is to have an up to date and specific response to the proposed new health and social care centre as part of this much smaller housing development than was previously planned.

“We are on record as underlining the urgent need for this facility and would reiterate that it is vitally important that the proposals are approved. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our letters so far and we expect to receive more support as more letters go out.”

The new health centre plans have divided opinion among some Market Weighton residents.

A group opposing the plans, The Access against Action Group set up by local residents Matt Rice and Eric Wood, has collected over 230 signatures on a petition opposing the development which they say is unsuitable for the North Gate Vale area.

Matt accused the surgery and developers of ‘clutching at straws’ by sending letters to children.

He said: “We are getting concerned that they are clutching at straws to win support.

“If they are sending letters to nine-year-old children then there must be something wrong.

“It is very, very strange.”