New GP surgery plan halted over funding issues
PUBLISHED: 16:18 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:18 11 December 2019
Plans for a large modern GP surgery to provide two growing villages with enough appointments for years to come have been halted due to funding issues.
Mendip Vale Medical Practice in January won planning permission to build a surgery in Smallway for people living in Congresbury and Yatton.
But construction work has not begun and this week the Times learned a lack of cash means the project has been halted.
Cllr Steve Bridger, who represents Yatton on North Somerset Council, said the decision is 'extremely disappointing'.
Both villages have surgeries but neither can be expanded to accommodate more patients, yet estates of hundreds of homes are being built across the two and in Claverham.
Planning permission was secured at the second attempt by Mendip Vale. During the planning stage, doctors Sam Partridge and Andy Warinton said a new surgery was needed to attract GPs to work in the area.
Dr Partridge also said spending a six-figure sum on revamping the surgeries 'would be money down the drain because it won't provide a building fit for the next 10 years'.
Cllr Bridger has spoken to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about the need for a new surgery.
He said: "Between them, these two premises have almost 40 per cent less space than they need to support the current patient lists of around 12,000 - let alone the soaring pressure from new housing in both villages.
"It is patently clear there is a disconnect between the facilities we expect the NHS to provide and the homes being built, following the permissions granted in a piecemeal fashion in 2015 and 2016.
"Local services are left underfunded and struggling to cope with the increased demand. We always seem to be playing catch up.
"Housing must be matched with improved facilities, which includes a surgery fit for purpose."
The CCG's spokesman said: "We are aware plans to develop a new GP practice in the Yatton and Congresbury area have been paused while the practices consider future options.
"We are confident the facilities available at the two current practices are able to meet the needs of local patients at this time.
"We know the population of Weston is growing, and we are strengthening primary care services to meet changing needs in a sustainable way."
Mendip Vale was contacted for comment, but failed to respond before the Times went to press.