Health advisors stay despite GP closure
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 September 2013
HEALTHY living experts made homeless by the closure of a Weston GP surgery are relocating to the Town Hall.
North Somerset Council’s health trainers were previously based at the medical practice in the Boulevard.
However, as previously reported in the Mercury, the surgery will close at the end of the month.
The move comes despite earlier NHS moves to close the facility being halted by protests from patients and councillors.
Watchdog Healthwatch has been again been asked to intervene, but it seems likely that the surgery will close for good on September 30.
Patients are being notified of the change, and advised on registering with alternative practices – but many will be heartened to learn some key services will be staying in the town centre.
Local authority health workers, specialising in healthy lifestyle advice and stop smoking services, will be now housed in the town’s council base.
The council’s healthy lifestyle service manager Tina Clark said: “We are keen to ensure that our clients continue to receive a professional, efficient, accessible service and will therefore be moving the health trainers to the Town Hall.
“I would like to reassure everyone that our services will continue, and the only change will be the location – the drop-in times, telephone number and quality of service provided will remain the same.
“The Wednesday stop smoking groups will also continue and alternative venue options are currently being considered.”
North Somerset says it will work hard to ensure minimum disruption to its service users and will contact those affected to let them know of the changes.
The relocation is the latest in a series of moves to merge public services in the Town Hall after its £10million refurbishment.
Weston Library was also uprooted from its Boulevard home and reopened in the Walliscote Grove Road building, while Weston Police Station moved its front desk services over the road to the council HQ.
Fears for the future of the police station’s remaining services have frequently been voiced – and last week, Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens refused to offer any long-term assurances that a station would remain operating in the town centre.
She told Weston Town Council she believes the Town Hall arrangement ‘has worked very well’ and that her priority would be to ‘support people not buildings’.