A SOMERSET doctors’ surgery could finally expand in the coming months – four years after NHS bosses identified the need for new provision in the local area.

Langport Surgery (also known as the North Street Surgery) was one of 14 GP surgeries which were singled out by the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in September 2020 as needing to either expand or relocate to cope with significant housing growth in their catchment areas.

Since this date, NHS Somerset has been working on temporary solutions to provide additional capacity at these surgeries until more permanent solutions can be put in place – for instance, approving the ongoing use of Portakabins at Bruton Surgery until a new medical centre can be delivered as part of a planned housing development.

The Langport Surgery team has now applied to build an extension onto their existing premises on the A378 North Street which will allow more patients to be seen and additional practice staff to be recruited.

The practice lies in the centre of Langport, a short distance from the town’s Tesco supermarket, Huish Episcopi Primary School and the main shopping area along and around Bow Street.

It currently has a list of around 14,000 patients, with NHS England deeming it should expand its existing premises by one third to meet national standards.

Under the proposals, a two-storey extension will be constructed on the western wing of the existing building, at a loss of three existing car parking spaces.

The new extension will include a meeting room for staff training, a telephone consultation space and a range of consultation rooms.

A spokesman for Orme Architecture (representing the surgery) said: “The extension will facilitate a meeting room, meaning the practice will not need to be closed as often.

“Currently the practice needs to utilise the waiting room for larger team meetings and training. This meeting room will facilitate opportunity for quality training and meeting space, ensuring the team are providing the best possible service.

“Space will be provided to allow increased clinical services to include a pharmacist, mental health and health coaching appointments, increased GP and nursing capacity to meet the demand of the growing population.

“It will lead to increased productivity for GPs who currently have to work from home to free up clinical room space, as often the connection to the clinical system is poor when accessing remotely, meaning less work can be done.

“The plan is to include a room which can be used at the practice for telephone consultations.”

Langport’s surrounding parish of Huish Episcopi has seen significant housing growth in the last decade – including the Parrett Gardens estate of 80 homes recently delivered by Persimmon Homes South West on the A372 Wincanton Road, and The Orchard estate of 36 properties recently completed by Allison Homes.

Somerset Council’s planning committee south approved revised plans on Tuesday (May 28) for a further 100 homes on the B3153 Somerton Road – which includes a contribution of more than £50,000 towards extending Langport Surgery.

In addition to creating additional capacity for Langport patients, expanding the surgery will help other neighbouring medical centres whose catchment areas overlap.

A spokesman said: “The surgery is a training practice, and having more clinical space would allow an increased number of placements for trainees. This greatly helps with staffing in the future and allows the growth of the Langport team.

“As practices continue to work as a network (Langport works with Ilminster and Chard practices), we are keen to ensure that services remain local in Langport due to the patient demographic.

“The practice has many elderly patients, and the practice boundary includes some rural areas. We feel strongly that primary care services should continue to be delivered in the local area for our patients.

“This extension will help to plan and prepare to continue delivering quality
services over the next decade and beyond.”

The council is expected to make a decision on the proposals by the end of the summer.