Campaigners to carry on Sidmouth Health Centre fight

PUBLISHED: 08:28 07 March 2012 | UPDATED: 09:04 07 March 2012

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'Back to drawing board' for docs and patients' reps

FRUSTRATED campaigners say they are “bowed but not beaten” in their fight for a fit-for-purpose health centre for Sidmouth.

Doctors and patients’ representatives this week admitted they “reluctantly admit” hopes of a joint surgery and library re-build were “dead” – but vowed to go back to the drawing board.

The Herald reported last week how county council bosses said £600,000 allocated to Sidmouth Library – seen as the catalyst for the regeneration of both amenities in Blackmore Drive – will be spent across Devon.

Prim Dodd, chairman of the Sid Valley Patients Forum, said on Tuesday: “This does not close the book - only a chapter.

“Because of the dire requirement to upgrade our medical facilities for the benefit of the Sid Vale community, we are looking at every innovative way we can to deliver.

“We will need the support of councillors, at whatever level, and all the support of the patients the practice serves.

“We are revisiting the drawing board with renewed vigour in the knowledge of total backing of the community.”

Mrs Dodd said forum members and GPs had “made overtures” to Devon County Council (DCC) bosses for years.

She added: “Having been aware that these monies had to be committed in the calendar year of 2011, we tried every conceivable way of engaging with the decision makers to no avail, subsequently being advised through the Sidmouth Herald that all the efforts were in vain.

“There was certainly no dragging of feet or ‘sitting on hands’. It should be not be overlooked that we have been in discussion with Devon Libraries for the past 3 years and had been given some very positive signals on more than one occasion - thus our frustration.”

County councillor Stuart Hughes said last week he regretted that negotiations between campaigners and the authority had reached “the end of the road”.

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