GPs ‘committed to delivering healthcare from centre of Sidmouth’

PUBLISHED: 09:17 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 17 July 2017

The Sidmouth Health Centre on Blackmore Drive. Ref shs 10-16SH 7180. Picture: Simon Horn

The Sidmouth Health Centre on Blackmore Drive. Ref shs 10-16SH 7180. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

GPs are determined to continue delivering healthcare from the centre of Sidmouth – but are already considering purchasing an alternative to their Blackmore Drive HQ.

Dr Joe Stych has ‘no doubt’ that if the practice partners had been allowed to buy the site in 2012, there would already be a new, functional surgery in place. Instead it was transferred to NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which promised a meeting with GPs after the decision in March on the future of East Devon’s community hospitals. Those talks are now due later this month.

Dr Stych said: “We have been working with NHSPS for five years on modernising our Blackmore site, which regulators have described as ‘not fit for purpose’.

“It feels we are no further forward than when we first engaged.

“Partners would rather stay put on the Blackmore site, but are having to consider obtaining alternative premises and are looking at options to raise funds to purchase another site. I have no doubt that if the Blackmore site had been sold to the practice in 2012 as was agreed with the landlords at the time - rather than being transferred to NHSPS - we would already have a new, functional surgery on the Blackmore site.”

NHSPS came forward last year with proposals to completely redevelop the site with a scheme that would add flats and a pharmacy. This raised fears among GPs it would lose future expansion space available to the NHS as the town grows.

Dr Stych reassured residents that the practice partners are committed to obtaining a solution that provides the town with a central Sidmouth surgery.

But with a ‘workforce crisis looming’, he said fewer younger doctors are coming forward to take on financial respons-ibilities of the traditional GP partnership – that recently saw the practice partners personally shoulder a £2.3million loan to build the new Beacon Medical Centre.

Dr Stych said one option would be to seek funding through the Sid Valley Practice Equipment Fund to purchase an alternative site.

An NHSPS spokesman apologised for the delay in meeting with the GPs and said: “We are finalising an appraisal of the options for improving the surgery’s accommodation.”

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