Fears village patients will be cut off from Sid Valley medical hub

PUBLISHED: 06:46 12 November 2014

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Councillors have expressed concerns for Sidford patients, as the village looks set to lose its doctors’ surgery and pharmacy.

The surgery - which has been labelled too small and antiquated - was already ear-marked for closure once the new Beacon Medical Centre opens next year at Stowford Rise.

But, now, the Lloyds pharmacy has hinted it intends to move from Sidford to the ‘one-stop medical hub’ at Stowford.

Speaking at Sidmouth Town Council meeting on Monday, Councillor Ann Liverton said: “People in Sidford will have no health centre and no pharmacy. I think the people of Sidford and Sidbury will have a real problem if they want 
to pick up repeat prescriptions.”

Dr Duncan Hall said: “We have always said we are not going to find a solution with building a new health centre that will suit everybody.

“And, while some Sidford residents may miss out, hopefully more patients will benefit.”

He confirmed the Sidford surgery was likely to close soon after the new centre opens, citing the considerable cost of keeping two premises operating.

The chair of the Sid Valley Patient Participation Group, Di Fuller, said: “There is a huge sensitivity over the loss of the Sidford practice and that is felt by everybody involved.”

Sidmouth Town Council opposed initial plans for the new centre to include an in-house pharmacy, saying this would threaten existing independent chemists.

Di Fuller believes this decision has put the pharmacy in Sidford more at risk, because it has left an opportunity for Lloyds to move into the centre that would not otherwise have been available.

Councillors and residents have also expressed concerns about the accessibility of the new out-of-town centre, with Dr Hall supporting calls for a ‘hopper’ bus service.

County councillor Stuart Hughes (highways) said he was happy to look at this if there was a need, but argued the area was already quite well serviced, with buses linking the villages

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