OVER 100 people attended a meeting last week on the future of Milverton doctors’ surgery - part of a consultation going on until September.
The meeting in the Victoria Rooms was organised by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which took over Lister House Partnership in September last year, with a main surgery in Wiveliscombe and a branch one in Milverton.
It was chaired by Nick Broughton, chief executive of the trust, and local GP Dr Rosie Chadwick received applause from the audience when she explained what the problems were and how doctors’ jobs were nothing like they were 15 years ago.
The meeting heard that, like many surgeries nationally and in Somerset, Wiveliscombe and Milverton do not have enough doctors and recruitment has been very difficult.
“The lack of available doctors has meant that the time available for doctors’ appointments that can be provided in the Milverton practice has already had to be reduced, often to as little as a half a day a week and sometimes not at all,” a trust spokesman said.
“This raises questions about what is the safest way of looking after patients and how we can best use the local doctors that we do have.”
The meeting heard that doctors in Milverton often felt isolated from the rest of the team and were unable to discuss issues, which they needed to be able to do.
The team needed to be together but there was not enough space at Milverton to accommodate them, and people had concerns about the quality of care the trust was able to deliver from there.
The trust believed the best way forward was to offer all services from Lister House in Wiveliscombe and to support patients moving to the surgery.
It was seeking local people’s views and running a consultation until September 4. A decision on whether to close the Milverton surgery would then be taken by NHS England.
Peter Berman, chairman of the patient group at Lister House Partnership, said the meeting was much better than he expected.
He said he had been there to listen to people’s views, and the patient group would be considering its response and would send it in next week.