An Exmouth GP practice has reassured its 4,000 patients it has no intention of closing – after plans to turn the health hub into homes were revealed.
Raleigh Surgery bosses reiterated today (Thursday, November 14) that the change-of-use application was a ‘contingency’ for the future.
The Brixington surgery, in Pines Road, is owned and run by a sole GP – Dr Karen Knight, according to the blueprints.
Proposals lodged with East Devon District Council (EDDC) state there is ‘no guarantee’ another partner can be found to keep the practice running when she decides to retire.
But in a statement issued on its Facebook page, Raleigh Surgery says it is not closing, adding: “We have submitted a planning permission application in order to provide us with a contingency plan in the future.
“We cannot predict how services will need to be provided into the future, and wish to be prepared should there be a need for us to move to a larger premises or if there is ill health among the management team at the surgery.
“There is absolutely no need to register elsewhere, and we are more than happy to discuss the plans, and our reasons for submitting this application if any of our patients continue to be concerned.
“Please contact the surgery on 01395 222499 or come to the reception desk.”
The planning application describes the surgery as ‘vulnerable’ and says: “Sadly, due to the significant real terms reductions in the funding we receive from NHS England, we have struggled to attract additional partners to join the practice.
It adds: “Exmouth already has four other GP surgeries, and there is also provision in nearby towns and villages in Woodbury and Budleigh Salterton.
“These practices could easily absorb the 4,000 patients registered with Raleigh, and this would fit with the direction of NHS England in the long-term.
“The surgery is terrifically located in the heart of Brixington, and has easy access to shops, parks, a school and the aforementioned pharmacy, so the building would be ideal for conversion into residential units to meet extremely high demand for housing in Exmouth.”
The Essential Pharmacy Ltd, which has operated Pines Pharmacy in Brixington for more than a decade, has written to EDDC to object to the plans.
Town councillors have opposed the bid – as it goes against the Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan.
The fate of the application will be decided by EDDC.