Parkside’s new GP service offers more choices in Somerset

A new GP service is being launched in Somerset - to offer patients a different choice in challenging times. Parkside – the private wing of Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton – has welcomed Dr Cerian Winter to its team this month (May). The move has been prompted by the success of a similar project which has been running at Parkside’s “sister ward” – The Kingston Wing at Yeovil General Hospital – and has seen a big demand.

Sarah Porter, Private Patients Business Manager at Parkside, said: “We have noticed an increase in the last six months of people ringing to see if we have a private GP service, with stories of long waits for an NHS GP appointment being top of the list. “What is being offered now, both in Taunton and Yeovil, is designed to complement the existing NHS GP service and not replace it. The purpose is to fill the gap in the market where a patient requires a longer consultation, a quicker or more convenient appointment, a second opinion or a service that is not available on the NHS.”

Dr Winter graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2008 and initially started her training in hospital medicine in the South West before changing careers to become a GP. She qualified in 2021 and moved to Taunton, where she lives with her young family. She works in the NHS as a GP partner at Wellington Medical Centre four days a week and will now be working one day a week at Parkside.

The sort of services being offered by Parkside’s new GP service (and in Yeovil) will include:

· Travel vaccinations

· Medicals including HGV, Taxi etc

· A second opinion

· A more convenient appointment time or longer appointment

· Health checks / cancer screening (including smear tests) where a patient is not eligible under the NHS

· People visiting the UK or not registered for an NHS GP

· Onward referral for private diagnostic tests, to a private consultant or for private inpatient care

Dr Winter – and Dr Charles Middle at Yeovil Hospital’s Kingston Wing – are also able to offer a well woman or well man service, for those who would like a general health check. They can also complete medicals, such as those needed for the DVLA or occupational health departments.

Dr Winter said: “Sometimes the waiting times for checks like this within the NHS can be very long. So I’m very much looking forward to setting up this new service at Parkside.”

Hannah Pitman, head of private patient services of the Kingston Wing, added: “At a time of growing pressure on the NHS, anything that can help relieve that pressure – and provide services not routinely offered by the NHS, as well as offering patients greater choice – has to be a good thing.”

Parkside at Musgrove and the Kingston Wing at Yeovil District Hospital operate independently from the main hospitals but all profits go straight back into the NHS.

Sarah Porter added: “That is what makes our offering at Taunton and Yeovil different from any other private health provider. The patients benefit and so does the NHS.”