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Sidmouth GP surgery announces expansion plans

By The Editor

20th Jul 2020 | Local News

Expansion plans for a Sidmouth GP practice have been announced that could see them move from a current town centre site into the adjacent hospital.

The Sid Valley Medical Centre in Sidmouth is looking to extend its main Beacon Medical Centre in Stowford as well as relocating some services from the satellite Blackmore Health Centre to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital.

The plans would see GP practice able to integrate primary care and hospital services while continuing to offer a service in the centre of Sidmouth, replace the current Blackmore site which is 'unfit for purpose and not well suited for modern healthcare facilities', and would expand its range of services and offer a better environment in which to see patients.

The practice have been exploring a number of options that would serve their 14,485 registered patients and provide a full range of primary care services, with additional consulting rooms, Minor Injury Unit, pharmacists, physiotherapist, training rooms, research space, operating theatres and space for administration needed to deliver these services.

GP and partner at the practice, Dr Joe Stych, said: "We want to improve the service that we provide to our patients by extending our modern healthcare facility at Beacon that is better suited to meet their needs. We have been exploring options for a number of years and we're delighted that we may have found a solution.

"Our vision is to provide an attractive and pleasant environment for patients and staff. We have recently recruited more people to our team and we want to retain them, creating a stronger team for the future and ensuring patients continue to receive a high quality safe service.

"Our current premises in the town centre is no longer fit for purpose and this is a great opportunity for not just a better staff environment but a better service for our patients.

"We can do much more clinically and it will be a much smarter environment that can provide more joined-up health and care services that will benefit the local population.

"Like many parts of the country, recruiting new GPs and clinical staff can be a challenge, and working from a modern facility will enable us to recruit to vacancies more effectively, resulting in more available appointments and shorter waiting times."

At present, there isn't enough physical space in the current Beacon building to see an increasing number of patients and there is limited space available for office staff, but the expansion plans for a a bigger building would result in additional space for more staff, which in turn will mean more available appointments and shorter waiting times.

Two clinical rooms within the Victoria Hospital site have been identified for being for sole use by the practice with other rooms available for use on an ad hoc basis, and a spokesman for the practice added: "From previous patient engagement we are aware of the strength of feeling in favour of a presence being maintained in the centre of town."

Details with the proposal on the Sid Valley Practice website added: "We have been through a long list of options for this project and the process concluded that an extension to the Beacon and a move into Sidmouth Hospital provides the best outcome across a range of factors.

"This is the only option that will allow for sustainability in primary care in both the short and long term within the area and it will ensure that general practice services are preserved in the first instance and given space and location to grow and so meet future demand.

"Funding has been secured to get the project through planning and both NHS England and Devon CCG are supportive of this scheme and we are working together to secure funding to complete the project."

The practice is now encouraging patients to share their thoughts on the proposals to help shape the future service, with initial feedback that parking and transport would be a key consideration for people in the new facility to ensure continued access.

A spokesman added: "There will be no reduction in services provided from Sidmouth Hospital due to this plan and no services will be moved onto other sites to accommodate this project.

"The move will allow the Practice to expand its range of services and offer a better environment in which to see patients. The scheme will increase capacity to meet existing and future population needs and by working with the hospital team we hope to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital and help get people home promptly.

"This scheme will help us recruit doctors and nurses to future proof primary care services in the Sid Valley."

Patients can have their say by visiting www.sidvalleypractice.nhs.uk, while information leaflets and paper copies of survey can be found outside both surgeries.

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