PATIENTS in Minehead have been reassured that repeat prescriptions for medicines should still be available despite the shock closure of the town’s only GP surgery.

Somerset Cllr Mandy Chilcott, who represents Minehead, was given the assurance by the Somerset Integrated Care Board (ICB) after she investigated why the surgery had suddenly shut.

An ICB spokesperson said they understood the closure of Minehead Medical Centre was ‘temporary’ after health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) decided to issue an enforcement notice.

A special helpline has also been set up by NHS Somerset.

A note on the front door of Minehead Medical Centre on Tuesday.
A note on the front door of Minehead Medical Centre on Tuesday. (George Ody)

The CQC had given poor ratings to the surgery during past inspections and a year ago said it required improvement in several areas.

The Free Press understands the news was only broken to nursing and other staff at the Irnham Road premises when they arrived for work on Tuesday.

Patients, who were advised via a notice attached to the practice’s front door on Tuesday, were being advised to seek medical help through Minehead Hospital’s minor injuries unit or by calling the NHS 111 non-emergency number, or, if urgent, to dial 999.

Cllr Chilcott said: “This has come as a shock to everybody and we need some communications to let people know how to access help and support if they need it.”

The ICB spokesperson told Cllr Chilcott: “NHS Somerset is working at pace to make sure you can continue to access the care you need at the practice.

“We are committed to ensuring that patients in Somerset have access to safe and effective GP services and will continue to take action to ensure patients at Minehead Medical Centre receive the right care.

“Patients do not need to do anything and do not need to re-register with another GP surgery.

“If you require a limited, emergency supply of a medicine you have completely run out of, please use NHS 111 online, call NHS 111, or speak to your community pharmacist.

“This must be a medicine you are prescribed regularly, through a repeat prescription.”

Patients with a pre-booked appointment which now needed to be re-arranged would be contacted and they should not try to call the practice to cancel or change it.

Further communication would be issued soon and NHS Somerset would provide regular updates on its website.

In the meantime, NHS Somerset had set up a dedicated helpline on 0300 303 6409 which was open from 8.30 am to 5 pm.