More than 2,000 people support campaign to save Blackmore Health Centre

Sidmouth residents gathered at Blackmore Surgery to protest at the possible closure of the pract

Sidmouth residents gathered at Blackmore Surgery to protest at the possible closure of the practice. Hugo Swire MP made his way through an angry crowd as he met with surgery staff to discuss the future of the practice. - Credit:

Scores of residents sign petition ahead of further talks on future of Sidmouth’s town centre surgery

A campaign to save Blackmore Health Centre has gained the support of more than 2,000 people ahead of further talks to discuss its future.

Sid Valley Practice partners voiced their fears for the town centre surgery in the wake of spiralling costs, a proposed rent hike of £22,000 and plans by landlord NHS Property Services (NHSPS) to redevelop the site.

They appealed for support from the community and received an overwhelming response as scores of residents turned out to protest outside the premises. More than 2,000 people signed a petition to save the surgery.

Chairman of the Sid Valley Patient Participation group Di Fuller told the Herald that the response has been ‘very encouraging’ and added that figures so far are just for the paper petition – with many more online signatures to be added to the total.

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

They are fighting for the right to buy the premises in order to safeguard it for the future.

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NHSPS argues it has a remit to maintain buildings still needed for NHS services. Mrs Fuller said the petition will continue to collect signatures until East Devon’s MP Sir Hugo Swire returns for a second meeting with practice partners, patient representatives, NHSPS and NHS England – scheduled for early next month.

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