The Board of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who manages the Lister House Practice in Wiveliscombe and Milverton, will apply to NHS England to close the Milverton branch surgery with delivery of GP-led services being provided at Lister House Surgery in Wiveliscombe, supported by prescription collection and delivery services, nurse-led vaccination and health and wellness clinics for people with long term conditions in Milverton.
At their meeting on 24 October 2017, the Trust Board heard the reasons for proposing closing the branch surgery and the outcomes of the public consultation that took place earlier this year.
The Trust Board acknowledged that the Milverton Surgery was a treasured part of the community and that the consultation report has shown that many of those who responded would like the surgery to remain. However, due to ongoing shortages of GPs and health staff in Somerset, practice staff could not sustain services at two surgeries. Given also that running two surgeries costs more that the income received for the practice and the lease for the surgery is due to end in February, the Board decided to support the proposal to close the branch surgery at Milverton and consolidate at the main surgery at Wiveliscombe.
An application will now be made to NHS England for them to consider the proposal. The decision is expected by the end of January 2018.
The Board paid tribute to the work of the Lister House Patient Group, the Milverton Working Group and the local community who provided their valuable time and effort in supporting the consultation. The Trust looks forward to their continuing involvement in developing services at Lister House.
To support Milverton patients in this decision, the Board has confirmed it will:
- support the care of frail elderly patients by developing nurse-led group clinics at the Community Rooms in Milverton for flu vaccination/immunisation and for patients with long term conditions such as diabetes
- promote to patients the additional services which already exist within Lister House such as Village Agents and Wellness services. This includes GP home visits as required
- apply to NHS England to continue to dispense medicines to patients in Milverton and consider delivering prescriptions and offering drop in collection services in Milverton
- continue discussions with local transport provider, Wivey Link, on options to support those patients who can’t access private transport to get to Lister House
- continue to work with staff, the Lister House Patient Group and Milverton Working Group to support the development of services with better communication to patients and carers.
This work will proceed immediately to make sure they are in place should NHS England decide to support the closure. The Trust will also continue to work on a contingency plan should NHS England not agree the closure of the surgery.