GP surgery scheme criticised over location and pharmacy plans

PUBLISHED: 13:01 18 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 18 March 2018

An artist's impression of the new surgery. Picture: Mendip Vale Medical Practice

An artist's impression of the new surgery. Picture: Mendip Vale Medical Practice

Archant

A parish council has objected to plans to build a GP surgery which would treat 15,000 patients due to safety concerns and fears for a village business.

Mendip Vale Medical Practice’s proposal to create a new surgery and pharmacy between Congresbury and Yatton was criticised by Congresbury Parish Council at its meeting on Monday.

Small GP surgeries are run by Mendip Vale in Congresbury and Yatton – but the buildings fall below size standards and it hopes to consolidate its services into a central hub, including a pharmacy, in Smallway.

But, its proposals failed to win favour from parish councillors.

Councillors argued a pharmacy at the surgery would threaten village shops, and it should be removed from the plans.

Cllr Chris Breyfus said: “About 93 per cent of Day Lewis Pharmacy’s income is from prescriptions. If you take that away, we’ll lose it. The surgery can’t have a pharmacy.”

Parish council chairman Diana Hassan added: “I don’t like the chemist; I think it’s threatening Day Lewis. Its chemists are trusted, whereas when you go to the doctor there is no continuity in who you see. The chemists know their patients, and I feel it’s very unfair competition.”

David Clark, Mendip Vale executive manager, believes a new practice would ‘provide a wider range of services closer to home’, and current facilities are ‘wholly inadequate’.

But Cllr Hassan is concerned by the proposed practice’s placement in the strategic gap between the villages – a buffer to stop them merging.

She said: “There are only a few fields now between the villages, and it is important to maintain the space. This is threatened by such a big building.”

The parish council also raised fears over safety at the nearby Smallway junction, widely regarded as unsafe by villagers.

Cllr Hassan said: “There’s already a very busy junction. This would put added strain on that part of the road and, if it goes ahead, the speed limit ought to be reduced between Yatton and Congresbury to 30mph.

“They are also relying on public transport and, as we all know, public transport in this area is pretty precarious.

“I think the surgery should consider running its own minibus shuttle services. I’m sure it could be manned by volunteers.”

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