More than 1,100 people sign Sidmouth’s ‘save our surgery’ petition

A protest was held at the Sidmouth surgery. Ref shs 38-16TI 8075. Picture: Terry Ife

A protest was held at the Sidmouth surgery. Ref shs 38-16TI 8075. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Community continues to fight for town centre site

More than 1,100 people have signed a petition to ‘save Blackmore Health Centre’ after doctors revealed fears for its future.

Spiralling costs, a proposed rent hike of £22,000 and plans by landlord NHS Property Services (NHSPS) to redevelop the site prompted Sid Valley Practice partners to launch a campaign to safeguard the town centre surgery.

Scores of residents turned out to show their support for the health centre at a recent protest and a petition calling for NHSPS to allow the GPs to buy the property has now been signed by more than 1,100 people.

Practice partners are concerned proposals – that would see a new surgery provided, but flats and a pharmacy added to the site – will jeopardise future healthcare provision in the town.

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Dr Joe Stych, one of the partners, said the plans would mean the practice loses future expansion space and, hit with rising costs, may struggle financially.

NHSPS argues it has a remit to maintain buildings still needed for NHS services and has said costs to the practice are reimbursed.

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Chairman of the Sid Valley Patient Participation Group Di Fuller said the petition will run until a second meeting to discuss the future of the health centre is held in November. East Devon’s MP Sir Hugo Swire attended talks last month, along with practice partners, patient representatives, NHSPS and NHS England.

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