GP bids for £1.4million in funding to move and extend Sidmouth surgeries

PUBLISHED: 06:55 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:21 04 June 2019

The new Beacon Medical Centre. Ref shs 7767-23-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The new Beacon Medical Centre. Ref shs 7767-23-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

A struggling doctors' surgery, which was assessed as 'unfit-for-purpose', has revived plans for a £1.4million expansion.

A previous funding bid to extend the Beacon Medical Centre and move GP services from Blackmore Health Centre to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital, helping to support the hospital's medical ward, was rejected last year by the Department of Health and Social Care. Instead all the available funding for Devon went into secondary care.

This week, Doctor Joe Stych, a partner at Sid Valley Practice, said he was contacted by NHS England and Devon CCG to say further cash was being made available. The Sidmouth practice has now put forward a bid for the cash - potentially reviving the project.

Dr Stych said: "We are already limited in what we can achieve by space constraints. Working with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust and Sidmouth Hospital would help integrated working within our community and hospital teams which can only improve continuity and quality of care to our patients. Having a GP service provision from Sidmouth Hospital would safeguard a central town service and help strengthen the resolve of Sidmouth Hospital at what is politically a difficult time for community hospitals."

Dr Stych said the Beacon extension would help increase capacity and access to primary care services, while also accommodating more students and GPs in training - as the scheme also included rooms for trainees and a teaching room. He added: "This could help future workforce planning and keep a safe number of GPs for the town for years to come."

He said it would also help GPs to accommodate much needed support staff such as pharmacists, physiotherapists paramedics and wellbeing coache. He added: "GP numbers continue to drop and waiting times to see a GP continue to rise. We need to embrace new ways of working to continue to provide an efficient high quality service."

Dr Stych said their receptionists were working harder to get patients seen by the most appropriate team member in the most timely manner. He reminded patients that giving them extra information made a big difference and helped GPs to manage workloads. Contacting doctors early in the morning helped, he added.

Dr Stych said: "​Fingers crossed for the grant bid.

"We are £1.4million away from safeguarding GP services for Sidmouth for many years to come."

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