Bath City

Health bosses silent on more funding for Somerset doctors Bath City News

Somerset health bosses say they can’t be sure how much money will be needed to ensure Chard’s doctors’ surgeries can cope with additional accommodation.

The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) determines how NHS budgets are spent in the county, allocating resources to acute and community hospitals, minor injury units, medical surgeries and other facilities.

The CCG has admitted that improvements will be needed to at least two of Chard’s existing surgeries in order to accommodate housing growth, especially in the city’s southeast.

But health bosses declined to provide a figure for how much money will need to be obtained from developers, saying they are still working with the South Somerset District Council to “identify the costs involved in providing additional primary care” .

They also admitted that the planned expansion or relocation of Essex House Medical Center to the city center “may take longer than originally planned” in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The issue was raised at a council regulatory committee meeting on April 20, where Persimmon Homes South West’s plans for 252 homes on the A358 Tatworth Road were discussed.

Proposed development of 252 houses on A358 Tatworth Road in Chard (Image: Persimmon Homes South West)

Councilor Sue Osborne said, “Doctors Chard’s existing surgeries are already oversubscribed. How reasonable is it for us to ask for a contribution so that these surgeries can be scaled up?

“It will be a real scandal if people move into these areas and find out that they can’t register locally, or if they can, they can’t get dates for weeks.”

Planning Officer Martin Lee replied, “On several occasions the CCG has confirmed that there is a problem and confirmed what they would like to put in place, but each time they have failed to provide a specific calculation.

“This is consistent across all districts in Somerset – they are not providing the information we need.”

To get news like this delivered straight to your inbox, click here.

The Tatworth Road site is part of the East Chard Development Zone (CEDA), which the council plans to eventually provide up to 2,700 homes, 17 hectares of employment land, two primary schools and a new emergency road connecting the A358 to the A30 Crewkerne Road.

Two sites within CEDA, both on the A358, have already been granted planning permission – 200 homes by Kier Living South West (approved in February 2019, currently under construction) and 94 homes immediately south by Summerfield Developments ( approved in August 2020).

Despite the fact that CEDA will not be delivering any new medical centers, the CCG has not requested any specific contribution from any of these developments, according to council documents.

Primary Care Commissioner Ed Garvey said ahead of the regulatory committee meeting that the development would create an additional 756 patients shared between local surgeries – admitting such growth would leave both Tawstock Medical Center on St Mary’s Close and Essex House Medical Center on Fore Street “undersized”.

Artist’s impression of 252 houses on A358 Tatworth Road in Chard (Image: Persimmon Homes South West)

Despite this, the CCG further declined to provide any specific amount that will need to be obtained from the developers – stating only that it will ask for contributions to all current and future major developments of Chard.

A spokesperson said: ‘Our duty is to ensure that Somerset’s health infrastructure is responsive to the demand it faces, so that we can provide quality care to those who live in the county. .

“When there are new housing developments proposed, which will bring additional patients to an area, we work in partnership with the county district councils to identify the impact of these developments on health care and, where applicable. If so, request that Section 106 funding be allocated to cover the additional costs involved.

“Due to the demand that Chard faces in terms of primary care, we have requested that contributions to health infrastructure be made in relation to any proposed development in and around Chard, in the form of funding. of Section 106 from the developers.

“In the case of the 252 house development project, we have been working closely with the council since December 2020 to identify what could be the impact on health services and have requested that the promoter allocate part of the funding for the article 106 to support increased demand for primary care.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the board to identify costs associated with providing additional primary care in Chard and surrounding areas, to meet the needs of additional patients, as a result of the proposed development, so that these costs can be met. considered to be part of any funding agreement under section 106.

“Discussions are still ongoing to ensure that developments for the high priority PM premises are undertaken over a period of time.”

The CCG selected Essex House in September 2020 as one of 14 GP practices that will either need to expand or relocate in the coming years to accommodate changing demographics and housing growth.

Health officials said they still intend to make improvements at Essex House, but these have been postponed due to the lingering pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “Like many other health initiatives in the county, this is happening, while managing the health care needs around covid, so it may take longer than expected.”

The board’s regulatory committee is expected to meet again on May 18 to make a final decision on Persimmon’s proposals.

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2021-05-05 11:46:17