Saturday, 24 September 2011

Windlesham Doctor's Surgery.

Wednesday 21st September

I've said this a couple of times publicly recently, so I'll repeat it here again.
Its pretty wretched being an elected representative at present. Time and again I am asked to assist with a cut to a service, or a closure of something else, or the repair of a road, etc etc, and regrettably the answer is almost always the same: the government don't have any surplus money.

This goes for government both centrally and locally. The County Council are undertaking and implementing cuts as part of their PVR work in order to save £1m per week of the annual budget. And that is impacting across all areas.

Clearly though, this form of review is not limited to the public service. Involved in property as one of my own business interests, we have had to make radical changes in order to adapt to a change in demand and a lack of monetary supply across the mortgage and investment markets. Life has changed and business has changed. And so, while lamentable to hear, it is no real surprise to me to hear now that the Windlesham Doctor's Surgery - run as a business as surgeries are these days - is now potentially about to close.

I attended a consultation meeting on Wednesday where the doctors put the case to a Windlesham Link packed with local residents, councillors and other interested parties.
It was pretty bleak.
Seemingly, to put the pre-fab buildings into something resembling a state of the art surgery would cost in the region of £150,000. To buy the freehold interest from the current landowner would cost approximatekly £100,000. So would be £150,000 in order to keep the status quo and a further £100,000 to secure the interest in the property once redevelopment had taken place. At £100 per patient, the Windlesham surgery alone would need 2500 new patients to cover the cost of the renovations alone.
Thus, the doctors had decided that it was a better investment of capital to expand the surgery at Lightwater in order to bring it up to a 'state of the art' medical centre and deal with any future patient increase at Lightwater.

A sound business case. But a deeply unpopular move with residents, as evidenced by a lot of jeering - unjustified in my opinion - and barracking of the speaker, Adrian Davis, who repeated his regret and his continued commitment to provide a first class medical service in the area.

However, there remains a potential light at the end of the tunnel in respect of keeping a doctor in Windlesham. Cllrs Sturt & Harris recently discussed with me the remodelling of the pavilion at the Field of Remembrance. The subject of a future blog post, it is currently at the plans stage, and a suggestion was made to install a multi-function and compliant consulting room within this new building. This suggestion, if workable, would not only keep a doctor within Windlesham, subject to certain conditions, but may also free up car parking space in the village.

Its all just embryonic at present, but watch this space.

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