Sidmouth Health Centre premises ‘worst’ in East Devon

GPs’ plea as patients are ‘treated out of cupboards’

DOCTORS have called for Sidmouth to be handed a brand new health centre after the town’s current practice premises were ranked the ‘worst’ in East Devon.

GPs say they are providing a first-class service from a “woefully inadequate” and “dilapidated” base where cramped conditions see patients ‘treated out of cupboards.’

Sidmouth Health Centre was rated the most under-sized in the region in NHS Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) statistics- coming a rock-bottom 13th out of 13 in the region.

Practice partners and its manager this week revealed plans to completely rebuild the Blackmore Drive centre- and adjoining Sidmouth Library - have been left in limbo for more than a decade.

They want the bid to get a ‘kick-start’ from a slice of �1.5million on offer from the developer intent on replacing the Fortfield Hotel with apartments.

The health centre won’t receive a single penny from huge housing projects in Stowford that will add up to 700 new residents to the town’s population.

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“We’ve expanded into every conceivable space and have completely outgrown this building,” said Dr Duncan Hall.

“Others have been redeveloped and we’ve been left behind.

“When we had diabetic screening, I came out of my consulting room and there was an eye chart on the back of my door. I had to limbo dance under it to get out.

“Our nurses’ space is a boot room and we have a cupboard that’s been turned into an office.”

“The town is getting bigger rapidly and we’re providing more services. This practice is congested on a daily basis,” added Dr Ross Dell.

“This building is woefully inadequate. It’s antiquated, under-sized and dilapidated. Access is dreadful. We need premises 60 to 70 per cent bigger.”

Practice manager Rob Spargo told the Herald: “We provide a first-class service from very inadequate resources. This is the worst building but its one of the best services.

“A new centre would re-energise the whole team and improve the morale of staff and patients. People are working, and patients are being treated, in very cramped conditions.”