Medical centre on Weston estate faces uncertain future
- Credit: Archant
The future of a medical centre in one of the most deprived area’s in the country is in doubt.
‘An alternative option’ for GP services at The Locality Health Centre in Weston-super-Mare’s Bournville estate is being explored.
The Mercury reported in August a scaled-down service will be inevitable as the deal with the Healthy Living Company, which has been running GP services on the same contract for 10 years, expires at the end of this month.
NHS bosses have invited bids from providers after Healthcare UK decided to reduce the budget for the estate by 50 per cent.
The bidding process began in July, and NHS England and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) evaluated responses and carried out a patient survey.
The CCG said it wanted a provider in place to start running the practice by November 1, but no bids have been placed, prompting concerns from patients and staff members over the centre’s future.
Kerry McColgan, a nurse at the health centre, told the Mercury: “It remains unclear what kind of healthcare provision will be available for the 5,000 patients.
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“This surgery was set up 18 years ago with a remit of addressing the health inequalities of the estate, it has been well researched and documented that people living in highly deprived areas have a lower life expectancy and poorer health than those living in more affluent areas.
“My colleagues and I have been doing our best to provide the dedicated healthcare and support needed to improve patients’ lives.
“This simply cannot be achieved with these new levels of funding, we cannot sit back and see our patients treated in this way.”
A spokesman for the CCG said patients will be catered for.
They said: “The CCG and NHS England have undertaken a procurement process for general practice services provided at The Locality Health Centre, as the current contract is due to end this month.
“We have been unable to secure a new provider through this procurement and are now exploring an alternative option.
“No decision has been taken to close the general practice at present.
“If an alternative provider is not found by November 1 patients will be offered places at nearby GP practices from November 1.
“The patients are our priority and we will communicate directly with individual patients once a decision has been reached.”