Sidmouth doctors reveal options for new health centre

DOCTORS in Sidmouth are in desperate need of a bigger health centre to serve the community.

But discussions held with Devon County Council, which runs the adjoining library, have so far produced no scheme.

On Wednesday, members of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, will discuss “the fear that Sidmouth will not be able to see the development of its library and health centre as expected.”

In light of this, the partners of Sid Valley Practice have issued the following statement to the Herald:

“For more than 10 years we have been exploring options to provide a much needed new Health Centre for Sidmouth. We desperately need a bigger modern building with much better access to our front door for disabled people.

These options include:-

l Redevelop on our current site to include the site currently occupied by the library. Some years ago, it was thought that this might be possible with the Library moving to the site of the car park opposite the library. Unfortunately when this plan was finally costed, it was found to be too expensive.

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l Redevelop our current site to include the joint development of a new health centre and library. We have had discussions with the Library Authorities at Devon County Council but, to date, these have not amounted to specific plans. Ideally we would like an entrance on Blackmore Drive to improve access and provide a covered ‘drop off point’ for patients but we are aware that the library would also want to retain their entrance on Blackmore Drive.

l Redevelop on our current site to provide a new bigger health centre. The advantages of this option include that we would remain in the centre of town and still be close to the hospital. The main disadvantage would be that we would remain some way from Blackmore Drive, which means a long walk for patients.

l Moving to a new site and building a new Health Centre. Despite looking at many possible sites, none of these has proved suitable.

The partners are committed to continue to pursue all opportunities to provide a new health centre for Sidmouth.”

Paul Baker, head of primary care at NHS Devon, said: “NHS funding remains in place should the GP practice wish to relocate.”

A spokesman for the library service at Devon County Council said: “No plans have been made, although there is an acknowledgement that DCC would like a better library for Sidmouth.

“It’s true that we’ve been talking to the health centre about options to create a better health centre and a better library, but those discussions haven’t amounted to specific plans.

“There has been money identified in our capital plan (�705, 000 in total over a number of years) to make improvements to the library, and, at the moment, that hasn’t changed, although in the current financial climate, that’s subject to the changing circumstances.”

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