CONCERNS have been raised about the lack of a health centre in a growing community after it emerged a facility won't be built for at least another two years.
Discussions had been progressing on providing a new centre in Chickerell, but this has now stalled.
Chickerell lost its surgery when the Abbotsbury Road practice of which it was part of closed in 2019. A satellite surgery was opened at Chickerell as part of the Wyke & Lanehouse practice however its operation was affected by the pandemic and there are calls for the service to be improved.
Plans were in the pipeline to provide the area with a new purpose-built surgery/health centre with sufficient medical staff to serve the population.
But a representative from Dorset CCG informed the town council at a meeting that providing a new facility is now some way off - at least a couple of years. This is apparently due to a lack of GPs and financial commitments in meeting the cost of a new centre post-pandemic.
New mayor of Chickerell John Worth used his acceptance speech to express his disappointment.
Cllr Worth is a familiar face - he's been mayor three times before and also serves on Dorset Council.
He received the chain of office from Elspeth Turner at the town council’s annual meeting and said he was looking forward to the coming year and progressing many positive projects planned for the expanding community.
But he added: “Provision of a new health centre is unfortunately on hold. A delay in delivery is of utmost disappointment to the town council, our community and myself personally having worked tirelessly with all parties concerned to supply a state-of-the-art provision.”
As a result, the town council has strongly requested an improved GP service for Chickerell residents.
A spokesperson for NHS Dorset CCG said: “We continue to work together to support the local practice and primary care network, as well as working in collaboration on plans to further develop services in the future.
“We would like to reassure local people in Dorset that we are working with GPs, their teams and community staff to make sure services are available when you need them.
“The standard of general practice in Dorset is very high, with Dorset well above the national average for trust and satisfaction.
“We would like to thank the local practice and primary care network team for their continuing work at this very busy time.”