GP surgery in Weston-super-Mare to be taken over – but are services ‘overloaded’ already?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2017

Medical symbol - Doctor with stethoscope

Medical symbol - Doctor with stethoscope

Archant

A Weston GP surgery is set to be taken over by another practice within the town, in a move which surgery bosses say will make for a more ‘efficient’ service.

Graham Road surgery will join forces with the Locality Health Centre (LHC), which is based at the For All Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville estate.

The changes will come into effect on April 1 and while LHC’s management team say the changes will have no impact on patients, they hope the merger will bring stability and continuity to the town’s healthcare provision.

A spokesman for LHC told the Mercury: “General practice is under threat and to sustain it in the future will mean more surgeries working together.

“General practice is currently facing a recruitment and retention crisis nationally. This, combined with increased demand, is placing a great deal of stress on all of primary care.

“We believe combining the surgeries will make us more efficient and a more attractive place to work, meaning we can continue to provide good-quality primary care services for the foreseeable future.”

The Mercury reported at the end of 2016 how patients were experiencing problems seeing the same doctor more than once at Graham Road, according to the surgery’s patient participation group (PPG).

As a result, the decision to merge Graham Road with LHC was also supported by NHS England.

Laila Pennington is the head of primary care at NHS England South West. She said: “We’re pleased a sustainable way forward has been found and that we have helped facilitate a solution for the patients and staff of Graham Road Surgery.”

However, one town centre councillor warned although the takeover was good news in the short term, much more work needed to be done to ensure people in Weston have an adequate provision of GP services in the future.

Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale said: “Healthcare services for residents in the town centre are on their knees. The closure of the walk-in health centre on the Boulevard has caused a knock-on effect and simply overloaded the other surgeries.

“I welcome today’s announcement that Graham Road surgery will receive support.

“However, I cannot help but feel it’s a sticking plaster and with thousands of extra homes planned for the town centre, much more needs to be done to provide vital services for residents.”

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