BRIDGWATER’S Victoria Park Medical Centre has announced that it will close the practice from next Wednesday (August 11) due to ‘ongoing clinical staffing shortages’.
Letters have been sent out to the 600 or so patients affected relocating them to other practices.
But the news has caused an angry reaction in the neighbourhood with Cllr Mick Lerry, (Victoria, Labour) saying: “As chair of the Board at centre I am really concerned at the imminent closure of the GP Service.
“The centre has always been a local hub for the community and closure of the practice will mean that registered patients will be denied a local, accessible service on the west side of Bridgwater.
“Patients will now have to go to East Quay, Cranleigh Gardens, Taunton Road and Somerset Bridge, which will only put pressure on other GP practices.”
He added: “I have written to the Clinical Commissioning Group to ask them to consider other options, which will include retaining a GP practice at the centre.
“At a time when the Covid pandemic is still active, this is not the time to reduce health care in the growing community population. As yet I have not received a reply to my letter, which has also been copied to the local Member of Parliament and local authorities.
“The role of the Clinical Commissioning Group is to commission health care to meet the reasonable needs of the community, principally for patients, both registered and unregistered.
“If the GP Practice is removed, then the CCG will not be meeting its responsibility to patients. To close the medical centre and GP practice will only be detrimental to the promotion of good health care for the community.
Important hub for the community
“The Victoria Park Community Centre was established to act as an import hub for the community. It was about local authorities and the CCG working together to provide health care for the community and well-being for children.
“If the GP practice closes this will also have an impact on other services offered at the centre, including the pharmacy, which is involved in the Covid vaccination programme. I have asked the CCG to think again.”
Cllr Julie Cordiner (Labour Victoria), added “I am totally shocked by the closure.
“These are difficult times for many people and for most people the trusted GP is a lifeline, offering not only medical services, but consistent support in a difficult world.
“For many the prospect of being forced to attend a different GP service will bring worry and anxiety at a time when many people are already worried and anxious due to Covid.
“We also must not forget those who may find it difficult to access care away from their community, those who do not have a means of transport who are ultimately going to experience increased transportation costs whenever they need to visit their GP.
“I agree with Cllr Lerry that the CCG must consider all options and fight to retain the GP practice in the best interests of the community.”