Public consultation to decide future of two town centre GP surgeries

Graham Road Surgery could merge with Clarence Park. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Graham Road Surgery could merge with Clarence Park. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A decision on two GP surgeries in Weston facing uncertain futures will go to public consultation.

Options to merge the Graham Road branch with Clarence Park Surgery will affect around 14,000 patients.

Clarence Park could either close fully or operate as a branch site, which would offer advanced nurse practitioners, treatment room and chronic disease services lead by nurses. Both surgeries are run by Locality Health Centre (LHC CIC) and serve the town centre and seafront areas.

The viability of a GP practice with fewer than 5,000 patients has been questioned by health bosses, who had concerns over the ‘limitations’ of Clarence Park and the associated scalability of Graham Road.

MORE: ‘Considerable uncertainty’ surrounds Weston surgery’s future.

Clarence Park Surgery. Picture: Google

Clarence Park Surgery. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Mark Graham, chief executive for the LHC CIC, said: “We are reviewing the services to provide the best facilities possible to all 14,000 patients.

“GP services have changed a lot in the past five years, and Clarence Park is still not fit for purpose. There are real problems with that building, and it has limitations.”

Clarence Park is less than a mile from the Graham Road practice and serves just under 5,000 patients, with a high proportion of elderly people.

Central ward councillor Mike Bell was sceptical of the future provisions of both surgeries.

MORE: Graham Road told it must improve after nurse taken on without DBS check.

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He said: “There will be serious consequences to the town centre regardless of what option is taken.

“Any decisions will be made without thinking of future proofing. Even if it is the right thing to do to merge the surgeries, there are real concerns, as Graham Road won’t be able to cope with such an increase in patients. Parking is already a major grievance. There are no signs or suggestions to how the negative impacts will be managed.”

The LHC CIC believes operating all services from Graham Road ‘offers the most financially sustainable and efficient use of clinical resource’.

A spokesman added: “These proposals best meet the needs of the patient population for a short, medium and long-term perspective, while also enabling the practice business to be sustainable during this time of change across the locality.”

A public consultation event will take place on March 19 at Clarence Park Baptist Church, in Walliscote Road, from 12.30-2.30pm and 6.30-8.30pm.