North Somerset Council meets with NHS to form strategy to tackle Weston-super-Mare's GP 'crisis'
PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 May 2017
North Somerset Council has held talks with NHS England and North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this week to discuss a strategy to tackle 'well-known' health concerns in Weston-super-Mare.
The council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel (HOSP) held the meeting on Monday at Weston Town Hall to ‘talk through the national, regional and local strategies to better support services’.
An NHS spokesman told the Mercury it is working on a ‘local strategy to improve access for local people’.
The spokesman added: “We are absolutely committed to offering high quality GP services in Weston and were pleased to discuss a range of ideas with councillors this week.
“A local strategy to improve access for local people and better support surgeries will be published in the coming weeks.”
The NHS confirmed the ‘extra pressures on local services from an ageing, growing population’ were discussed, and extra support for Weston’s surgeries with building and technology upgrades was also mooted.
The possibility of expanding treatments available at surgeries to include the likes of physiotherapy, mental health nursing care and pharmaceuticals was also raised at the HOSP meeting.
The group also discussed the impact future housing development in Weston and the surrounding villages might have on healthcare provisions in the area, and how health services can be prepared to cope with a population increase.
This comes after the Mercury reported last November how Weston’s GP services were in ‘crisis’.
The allegations were made by the Stafford Medical Group’s patient participation group chairman Steve Emery at a council meeting – and he called on the council for help.
He said: “There is a crisis in GP provision in Weston – it sounds alarming, but it is true. We have requested to merge our two practices at Stafford Place and Locking Castle, but we are getting nothing but blocked by NHS England.
“We have got NHS England blocking the merger, which would make life easier and more sustainable. We need your help.”
The Mercury approached the council for comment on Monday’s meeting, but did not receive a reply at the time of going to press.