Sid Valley Medical Centre expansion plans

Artist's drawing of The Beacon Medical Centre extension plans Picture: Osmond Tricks

Artist's drawing of The Beacon Medical Centre extension plans Picture: Osmond Tricks - Credit: Archant

A 20-year dream to improve healthcare provision in Sidmouth could finally become reality.

Plans to expand and relocate Sid Valley Medical Centre facilities have been submitted to East Devon District Council. They include expanding the main Beacon Medical Centre in Stowford, and relocating services provided at the Blackmore Health Centre in the town centre to the nearby hospital.

Under proposals, the Blackmore site which is “unfit for purpose and not well suited for modern healthcare facilities” would close. Meanwhile, the expansion of the Beacon site would allow for a wider range of services.

Funds will come from NHS England’s Estates and Technology Transformation Fund and will enable the medical centre to cater for the expected patient growth to 2028.

“More work is moving out of hospitals into the community,” practice partner Dr Joe Stych explained. “We are working with local practices in primary care networks including pharmacists, physiotherapists, mental health workers and nursing associates to provide more services and help look after local people.

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“We need more space to do this. And we cannot meet our educational roles to train doctors and nurses for local universities within current limitations. We are struggling to recruit new staff to our teams with the current set up.”

Previous plans to refurbish Blackmore Surgery and expand into the library previously fell through, but it’s believed that the new scheme will deliver multiple benefits.

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The new structure will reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital and help facilitate early discharge, while strengthening the position of Sidmouth Hospital. It will also help recruit doctors and nurses to future-proof primary care services in the Sid Valley so patients do not have to travel to Exeter.

The practice has been engaging with patients and has set up focus groups with its Patient Participation Group to look at possible issues associated with transport and parking under the news scheme. The practice is also keen to receive general patient feedback. Services provided from the centre of town currently, which cannot be provided remotely, will still be provided from Sidmouth Hospital under the new scheme.

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