Weston's 'challenging' GP recruitment problem may soon be tackled with 'robust' plan'
PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 January 2017
Weston-super-Mare's doctor surgeries are expected to find new ways of working in the future, and a 'robust' plan of how they will become more sustainable will be published in February, it has been revealed.
Weston’s surgeries have faced ‘significant difficulties’ when trying to recruit new GPs and are in a ‘challenging position’, according to NHS England.
Although there is a national GP shortage, the NHS body says this has been felt more acutely in places like Weston.
NHS England and the North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group are already working with North Somerset Council about possible options for a new primary care centre in Weston. This may be a new health hub, which the council is already looking into creating.
NHS England announced in December how it was meeting with the town’s GP practices to discuss the long-term sustainability of primary care in Weston and Worle.
In a letter sent to Weston Town Council last week, Mark Cooke, the director of commissioning operations for NHS England South West, said: “Weston is currently in a challenging position form an NHS perspective.
“It is hoped in February there will be a robust initial plan which can be shared with other organisations.
“One of the elements of future sustainability being discussed at these meetings will be the expected increase in housing in both the centre of Weston and Weston Village areas.”
The letter says practices support the idea that they need to find new ways of working.
This could include surgeries using other specialist professionals such as mental health nurses and pharmacists.
Changes to Graham Road Surgery, in Graham Road, may also be in the pipeline, and it is in discussion with NHS England about its ‘contractual options’.
NHS England also received a formal request from Stafford Medical Group at the end of December about closing Stafford Road Surgery, in Stafford Road.
Mr Cooke said: “We are currently assessing the application. We are committed to making primary care sustainable, so applications are given very careful consideration.
“We will ensure there is a communications and engagement plan in place which will involve patient engagement as a priority.”
Weston Town Council is considering creating a working party to look at health inequalities in the town centre and how it can help NHS England with encouraging GPs to work in the town.
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