HEALTH service provision in Minehead is set to be stepped up following a recent half-day closure of the town’s only GP practice, local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has revealed.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he recognised the closure of the Irnham Road GP surgery had sent shock waves through the local NHS network.

However, he had now met with senior health officials who had assured him a number of recognised local deficiencies stood to be corrected.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “I was pleased to learn that moves are now afoot to ensure that every use is made of Minehead Hospital.

“That is excellent news.

“This is a modern, well-equipped facility which has been woefully under-utilised.

“I was told at one time, for instance, that some specialist services were not being provided because consultants were unwilling to travel from Taunton, which is totally unacceptable.

“The hospital was designed and built as a satellite which would save hundreds of patients with a range of less urgent or serious conditions lengthy journeys to be seen at Musgrove Park Hospital.

“I am delighted that it now appears it is about to start functioning as originally intended.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said the GP surgery incident had been ‘something of a wake-up call to senior management.

He said: “Having a town of 12,000 people plus a large visitor population served by a single health centre is far from ideal.

“But I was glad to be told that every effort is now to be made to ensure the centre operates efficiently and effectively.”

The surgery closed as the health watchdog Care Quality Commission was serving an enforcement notice on the practice for failing to make improvements it had demanded.

NHS Somerset quickly arranged for OneMedical to take over the following morning and resume ‘business as usual’.