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Opening of medical centre heralds new era for healthcare in Frome

FROME’S new £10.5million medical centre is now open and doctors say that, coupled with the neighbouring Frome Community Hospital, the town now has “the biggest and most advanced primary care facility in the South West and possibly the whole of the UK.” 

GPs are now operating from the new state-of-the-art medical centre, while patients will be able to receive a wide range of treatments in their home town.

The new Frome Medical Centre is home to several GP practices, consulting rooms, an operating theatre, a pharmacy, optician, education suite, and a cafe. When fully operational, the centre will house more than 130 health professionals, including 30 GPs and the mental health team.

The new centre is the culmination of a 12-year vision of the partners at the Frome Medical Practice – the biggest GP practice in the UK – and senior partner Dr Tina Merry says it certainly lives up to expectations.

Dr Merry said, “We are very excited! The centre is built to improve the primary health care of our patients, and to provide integrated services with secondary care doctors from the local hospitals.

“Patients will enter a brand new building that does not look like any health centre they have ever entered before. It is meant to be different. It is welcoming, from the reception to the cafe facility. The building is also a place where we believe patients will feel comfortable. If you are ill, then why should you end up in a place that is drab and uninspiring? Once past the entrance, patients will quickly find out there are many services available to them under the one roof, bringing both convenience and ease of access.”

The project has been fully funded by the partners without any recourse to the taxpayer. “Frome now has a unique medical facility,” says Dr Merry. “Built next to the Community Hospital, the Health Park at Enos Way becomes the biggest and the most advanced primary care facility in the South West.”

The new facilities mean that a host of treatments and services will be delivered from Frome, saving patients time, expense, and inconvenience of travelling to Bath or further afield. Dr Merry said, “The whole idea is to have medical treatment delivered locally. It is planned that a whole range of surgery requiring local anaesthetics be carried out in Frome. This could include carpal tunnel operations, hernias, removal of skin lesions, plastic surgery, bat ear correction and aesthetics, hysteroscopy and many ear, nose and throat operations. Vasectomies are another example of the sort of surgery that we anticipate to be carrying out from the start. Further detailed announcements of what exactly we will be doing be given in the weeks and months ahead.

“We hope to bring as much outpatient activity to Frome [as possible] and already are in discussion with Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre, Circle Bath and Royal United Hospital Bath.”

The Frome Medical Centre is located next to the Community Hospital in Enos Way, together forming the Frome Health Park. Dr Tina Merry says that a close partnership will help deliver services. “Not many areas in the country have community hospitals, let alone brand new ones,” she said. “Even fewer areas will have a comprehensive medical centre on the same site.

“We already have the walk-in service based at the hospital alongside minor injuries and this will continue unchanged. We have approval to develop an ambulatory care service in the hospital. This will include delivering chemotherapy and other intravenous therapies locally without having to travel to Bath. We are also developing assessment beds where those who are acutely ill can be monitored and observed to avoid admission to distant hospitals. This all fits in with our mission to deliver as much care as possible here in Frome.

“We also have in the building the Horizon Suite where we have a chiropractic and homeopathic service as well as a private physiotherapist, a chiropodist and an aesthetic practitioner offering their services. We are confident we will attract more disciplines to offer their services.”

 

New home for GPs

 

Services that used to be provided at the health centre in Park Road, Saffron Surgery and Beckington Fromefield have now all moved to the new Frome Medical Centre.

However, the Locks Hill Surgery will remain open and unaffected, as will the walk-in service which will continue to be based at Frome Community Hospital, working alongside the Minor Injuries Unit.

The opening hours and contact numbers for the surgeries remain the same, with the medical centre opening Monday -Wednesday 7.00am-8.00pm, and Thursday – Friday 7.00am-6.30pm. Further information and updates can be obtained at the practice’s website at www.fromemedicalpractice.co.uk