An artist's impression of the surgery

Funding gap puts new Medical Centre on hold

Statement on GP services IN YATTON

On the 19th November I learned that we would have to wait longer for a new doctors’ surgery in Yatton. This was the date when the Mendip Vale Medical Group (MVMG) formally withdrew its planning application to build a new medical centre on land off Smallway.

This is extremely disappointing.

The new medical centre was to replace the current surgeries at Yatton and Congresbury. Between them, these two premises have almost 40 per cent less space than they need to support the current patient lists of around 12,000 – let alone the soaring pressure from new housing in both villages.

Over the past two weeks I have met the Area Director of the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG and the Executive Manager of the MVMG. I have talked to colleagues, and with parish councillors.

It is patently clear there is a disconnect between the facilities we expect the NHS to provide and the homes being built out now following the permissions granted in a piecemeal fashion in 2015 and 2016. Local services are left underfunded and struggling to cope with the increased demand. We always seem to be playing catch up.

I am arguing that new housing in the village must be matched with improved facilities, which includes a surgery fit for purpose.

The surgery is already creaking at the seams and the lack of an up-to-date facility in Yatton is causing difficulties in recruiting medical staff. This is impacting on patients, as we find it harder to get appointments when we need them.

Many in the community will find this latest setback a bitter pill to swallow.

The planned location of the new medical facility on Smallway split opinion. North Somerset Council eventually approved the new surgery in January 2019. I had reservations myself, which I addressed at a Yatton Parish Council meeting in April 2018. Before I was elected in May 2019, I asked Yatton Parish Council to create a joint working group (with Congresbury Parish Council) to ensure all the conditions were delivered. This group was due to meet for the first time on 19th November. In the event, I informed those present that Mendip Vale had withdrawn the planning application.

Cllr Tom Leimdorfer’s letter to the North Somerset Times, 23 January 2019

We all know the NHS is a very large and complex organisation. Big structural changes were made in 2013, and while for the most part we see little visible difference when we visit our GP surgery, the biggest changes governed who makes the decisions on how the money is spent at a local level.

New housing in the village must be matched with improved social infrastructure, which includes a surgery fit for purpose.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) replaced Primary Care Trusts and became responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area – including for general practice. CCGs now have greater responsibility “to support the development of integrated out-of-hospital services, based around the needs of local people”.

I know that senior managers at the CCG are aware of the limitations of the existing surgeries and the “opportunity” that a new facility would present – and indeed Mendip Vale was supported in preparing a business case – but after the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs joined together in 2018, I know some in the community were fearful the new surgery plans would catch a cold.

The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG is itself significantly financially challenged and plans for a new medical centre are effectively on hold until a new central capital source of funding becomes available.

I am hesitant about supporting more housing development in Yatton without a corresponding upgrade in facilities to support the increased demand on services.


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