Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the Lister House Practice in Wiveliscombe and Milverton, has recommended that the Milverton surgery is closed and replaced with prescription collection and delivery services, nurse-led vaccination and health and wellness sessions for people with long term conditions, in a Board paper published this week.
The decision was made due to the difficulties in recruiting GPs within Somerset as well as the fact that the current owners surgery wish to sell it when the lease ends in February.
If the Trust's recommendations are agreed by NHS England, doctors’ appointments will be available at Lister House surgery, which is less than four miles from the Milverton surgery.
To support the Milverton community, the Trust proposals include expanding health services in Milverton, for example, nurse sessions for vaccinations and local prescription services. No staff will be made redundant as a result of this.
Dr Andrea Trill, Associate Director of Primary Care for Somerset Partnership, said:
"The shortage of GPs is a national issue and felt very keenly in Somerset. By centralising services in the Lister House Practice, we hope to build on the good work that is being carried out by the excellent local team. We understand that the possibility of losing the much-loved Milverton surgery will be felt very strongly by the local community. We will therefore continue to work with local people to ensure that health services are still available in Milverton.
"I understand the prospect of losing Milverton surgery will be felt very strongly by the local community. I hope that by meeting and talking with local representatives we can identify those people most vulnerable from the closure of the surgery and put plans in place for their support. We want to work closely with the local community to strengthen services across the whole practice area and we hope that by centralising services in Lister House Practice we are able to meet the challenge of a severe national shortage of GPs, whilst maintaining excellent and safe patient care.”
The recommendation follows a formal consultation that was undertaken during the Summer. A total of 274 surveys were received from local residents of which 71% confirmed they lived in Milverton, providing an overall response rate for Milverton residents of 9%.
Dr Broughton, Somerset Partnership Chief Executive, commented:
"I would like to thank the local people who responded to our survey. I particularly want to thank the members of the Milverton Working Group and the Lister House Patient Participation Group who worked so closely with us and fed back local views. While the proposals will be disappointing to the majority of respondents who wanted the Milverton surgery to remain, we hope plans to develop more health services in Milverton will be well received by many in the community.
“The Milverton surgery was described by many as a 'happy place' and we want to retain services in Milverton where we can, although these will need to be delivered differently. In particular, we will be looking into how we can make sure that patients receive their prescriptions and can get to the Lister House surgery when they need to see a doctor."
The recommendation to close the Milverton surgery will be made to Somerset Partnership’s Board in their public meeting on Tuesday 24 October 2017 from 10.30am to 11.00am in the Sheppey Room at The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater.
If the Board agrees the recommendation, it will then be submitted to NHS England, who will make the final decision about the future of the surgery with a final decision expected by February 2018.
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