Future of healthcare provision in doubt after medical centre refused
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 October 2018
GPs fear for the future of healthcare provision in North Somerset after councillors refused plans for a surgery which would serve two of the district’s biggest villages.
Mendip Vale Medical Practice’s proposal to build a two-storey surgery between Yatton and Congresbury in Smallway was turned down by North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee on October 10.
But with Congresbury’s surgery closed temporarily until December 10 due to ‘staffing issues’, and Yatton’s site being quoted to spend a total of £188,727 to meet modern practice standards following a Clinical Commissioning Group estates review, questions are being asked as to what medical care will be provided in the coming years.
There is no room to expand at either surgeries and, as more houses are earmarked to be built in Yatton, doctors will be unable to meet increased demand.
A Mendip Vale spokesman confirmed it is not looking at any alternative sites as its ‘options are limited’.
Two Mendip Vale GPs, Dr Sam Partridge and Dr Andy Warinton, spoke exclusively to the Times to voice their concerns.
Dr Partridge said: “It is clear we will not have two surgeries, both buildings cannot be expanded any more and we found the location which was the most convenient.
“All we are trying to do is make sure there is a fit surgery for the local population, nobody has come up with a suitable alternative, Smallway is a good site for the population density and we need a modern building similar to the Pudding Pie Lane surgery in Langford.”
Dr Warinton added: “We need to be able to attract and retain GPs, we have seen young doctors come and look at the Pudding Pie Lane and Yatton surgeries and when they were told they would be working here (Yatton) they have walked away, they do not want to work in a building which they think does not have a future.
“There is a deficit of GPs nationally so we need to be attractive to new recruits.”
Dr Partridge recognised the problems of the Smallway site which include transport issues and narrow pavements for pedestrians, but he said there is ‘no perfect solution’.
He added: “We really care about our community and patients, we spend our working lives in the NHS and patient care is why we get out of bed in the morning.
“A new facility is needed but there is no perfect solution, we can see all the arguments against Smallway but they do not outweigh its necessity.
“We can spend hundreds of thousands of pounds redeveloping the two surgeries but it would be money down the drain because it won’t provide a building fit for the next 10 years.”