GPs in Sidmouth have unveiled plans to expand its Stowford health centre and relocate town centre services to the nearby hospital.
Bosses at the Sid Valley Practice, which cares for 14,485 patients, say it currently has no free clinical rooms and needs more space.
They are ‘exploring the option’ of extending the Beacon Medical Centre, in Sedemuda Road, and also moving the town centre surgery from Blackmore Health Centre to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital.
Doctors say they have been through a ‘long list of options’ for the project.
The Blackmore Drive branch has been branded ‘unfit-for-purpose’.
A pair of clinical rooms in the hospital – just a few minutes’ walk away – would be used by the practice – with other space available on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis.
A spokesperson for the practice said: “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.
“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.
“We are doing this because we have no free clinical rooms and need more space. More work is moving out of hospitals into the community.
“We are working with local practices in Primary Care Networks to provide more services and need additional space to do this.
“We are keen to expand our training and research roles and need room to do so. We are struggling to recruit new staff to our teams with the current set.
“Blackmore is unfit-for-purpose, it is a very old building not well-suited for modern healthcare facilities.
“This move would allow us to integrate primary care and hospital services while continuing to offer a service in the centre of Sidmouth.”
Practice partner Dr Joe Stych added: “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.”
More information on the project, and a survey on it, is available here.[asp_product id=”17531″]