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Fresh calls for a 24-hour on-call doctor in Frome

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FIGURES used to determine whether a doctor-on-call is needed in Frome are inaccurate, says a local councillor. 

Earlier this year, Mendip District councillor Derek Tanswell launched fresh calls for a 24-hour on-call doctor for Frome.

He says that figures for out-of-hours calls only account for people who use the local out-of-hours number – and not those who choose to travel to Bath RUH or call NHS Direct (which is to be replaced by the 111 number).

Consequently, he believes demand is far greater than the figures recognise.

He explains, “A lot of people don’t want to go to Shepton Mallet, because you can get pushed down to Yeovil. That’s 40 minutes away. They say, I’ll go to Bath.”

Cllr Tanswell says that, with Frome’s population and modern health facilities, the town should have a 24-hour on-call service to match.

“There’s no cover from Friday evening ‘til Monday morning.

“When people are ill they are vulnerable and it is not acceptable that a population as large as Frome should not be able to have access to a 24-hour doctor.

“There’s the financial costs as well. If you’re poor, you can get a taxi across Frome – but you certainly can’t get a taxi to Shepton Mallet. If you’ve lost your licence through a medical illness, you can’t drive down there. It’s all  the things like that. People say they support the campaign, and then tell you what their horror stories are.”

Cllr Tanswell suggests people write to the paper to voice their support for the campaign.  “I want to keep the pressure up,” he says.

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