The closure of the Chard GP office was due to a staffing shortage

Surgery at Springmead

A doctor's office had to permanently close its doors because it was unable to hire enough staff.

The patients of Chard's Springmead Surgery will be transferred to another facility.

As fewer general practitioners take on more complex and demanding workloads, the closure fits into a national trend.

The practice has relied on additional locums for a while, but as NHS Somerset Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernie Marden noted, "Ultimately, this is not sustainable for the long term. ".

"Over the past few years, Springmead Surgery has faced difficulties as a result of a number of issues, including GP partnership and staff changes. ".

"This problem is not specific to Somerset," he continued. GP workforce issues and rising service demands from an aging, more clinically complex population are widespread across the nation.

Sharon Vaux
Speaking with a doctor in Chard is challenging, according to Sharon Vaux.

Many residents of Chard are upset about the loss of what they perceive to be a crucial service.

"You physically can't talk to a doctor, so you can't really get sick," Sharon Vaux told BBC West. "There's nobody to talk to.".

"People occasionally need to speak with a member of the medical profession.".

Richard Kilde
Waiting times for doctors were a concern for Richard Kilde.

Richard Kilde, a patient at Springmead, asked, "How on earth are they going to manage it if 6,000 patients move to a smaller surgery when we already have a three-week waiting period?".

There are now fewer general practitioners than at any other time in the NHS's history, according to Dr. Lucy-Jane Davis of the British Medical Association, South West.

"What we're seeing (in Chard) is a general trend that we're seeing played out in real time in a particular community," she said.

NHS Somerset advised patients to call the helpline at 0300 303 6409 or send an email to somicb . providehelpline@nhs . net if they have any concerns or questions about the closure.

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