£10,500 sought for trees as surgery nears completion

Patient Participation Group chairman Di Fuller with members of the Sid Vale Association

Patient Participation Group chairman Di Fuller with members of the Sid Vale Association - Credit: Archant

Building work is almost complete and the Sid Valley’s new £2.1million surgery is set to open in early June – but a new funding bid is under way to improve the look of its car park.

Sidmouth’s eight GPs are shouldering a £2.1million NHS loan for the Beacon Medical Centre, yet this will not cover costly groundwork to add nine trees.

The Sid Vale Association has pledged £5,500 from the Keith Owen Fund – leaving the Patient Participation Group appealing for another £10,500 to improve the appearance for the centre’s visitors and neighbours.

Patient Participation Group chairman Di Fuller said: “The trees integrated within the car park will significantly enhance the general vista of the development and is something well outside the usual finance and reimbursement for health centres.

“The Keith Owen Fund has generously contributed an award of up to £5,500 towards the costs of purchasing trees and shrubs, plus topsoil and associated groundworks involved in their planting. This means that we still require £10,500 to meet all of the estimated costs of the car parking improvement.”

Significant groundwork and curbing stones are necessary to accommodate the trees in the 32-space car park.

This has proved costly, but it could not have been done as an afterthought.

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The centre is set to be handed to the Sid Valley Practice by the end of May.

It will serve the Sid Valley’s 14,000 patients and allow them a choice of locations.

The new centre will provide consulting rooms for seven doctors, treatment rooms for six nurses, a larger reception area, a minor operations suite and facility for a pharmacy.

And on the first floor, seven rooms are being offered to other health professionals to bring in an income and help service the debt.

The opening of the Beacon Medical Centre will trigger the closure of the ‘dated’ Sidford surgery, which is currently on the market for £500,000.

Charted surveyor Richard Heard said it could be used as offices or converted into homes, probably as three or four two-bedroom houses or flats.

The practice would also consider letting the building.

To support the car park fundraising effort, contact Mrs Fuller on 01395 576669 or di_fuller@hotmail.com.

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