About face

On 19th September we reported that the Somerset CCG had denied rumours that the Bridgwater Treatment Centre was under threat. Operated as part of the Somerset “Out of Hours” Integrated Urgent Care Service/SIUCS, the service is run by “Devon Doctors”.

The service is run from a base at Bridgwater Hospital. It has thus far provided non-emergency health care during “out of hours ” times, night-times and weekends, when medical centres and doctors’ surgeries are closed.

Bridgwater TUC expressed concern following rumours that Devon Doctors intended to cut the Bridgwater overnight service from Monday through to Thursday. As the nearest out of hours treatment centres are at Shepton Mallet or Taunton, this meant that patients will face extra- long journeys, and many home visits will be delayed way beyond the guidelines times.

The CCG told us at the time “We are not aware of any plans to change the location,operating hours or overall provision of this service.”

In a letter shared with the Leveller today, the CCG’s Chief Executive, James Rimmer has accepted this was incorrect.  He says “At the time at which we were contacted by the Leveller for comment on your press release, the statement that we issued was factually correct in that we were not aware of any plans to change the location, operating hours or overall provision of the service. Events moved quickly following this and it became clear changes were being proposed.

To cut a long story short, Meddcare (as the Devon Doctors are now called) had worked on a plan to review service provision. Mr Rimmer again “From 1 November 2019, there will be no clinician based at the Bridgwater site from Monday to Thursday. The service at Bridgwater remains open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on Bank Holidays. The service will be able to flexibly respond to an increased demand should this be necessary.

We will have more on this in the November edition of The Leveller, but the new service hours was information we wanted to get into the public domain as a matter of urgency.

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