Branch surgery on east side of town would be just the tonic

East side
East side

A branch doctors surgery could be set up on the east side of Whitby as part of plans to revamp the area.

The idea is being developed by the Eastside Action group and local health workers.

It also coincides with the news that surgeries and doctor’s jobs in the Esk Valley are under threat because of government funding cuts so it is hoped that the staff from one of those affected surgeries could set up on the east side instead.

Dr Prasana De Silva, lives on the east side but also works at The Anchorage in Whitby - a mental health centre.

He told the Gazette: “It would be a brilliant campaign because there is a very good chance we could get it. Potentially, one of five practices can have a branch surgery and that would be the easiest way of doing it.

“The options are a social services building or a voluntary building that is already there but not being used.”

Discussions over possible locations are already being discussed and the Gazette understands that the Larpool day centre building is one of them.

The East Side Community Centre has been ruled out because of the amount of rooms a surgery would need and because of the commitments to the groups that already use it.

Dr De Silva says the setting up of surgery of some kind is a “win win” situation because residents on the east side of town would benefit from not having to travel as far for appointments and it could save the jobs of those facing cuts in the Esk Valley.

He added: “If one of the surgeries who are expecting job cuts and reductions in monies can have a branch surgery then it will be a win win for all concerned.

“We get a branch surgery and they keep their jobs. I personally don’t mind which surgery has a branch but it might be good to get a competitive tender process in.”

The idea was welcomed by local residents and local town councillor, Amanda Smith who represents the east side, said “there is strong local support within this ward for a pharmacy and a branch surgery.”

Stephanie Sanderson of Abbots Road said it took her 40 minutes just to get from her home to Whitby Group Practice with her kids for an appointment that might only last five minutes.

Then it would take her a further 40 minutes just to get back because she had to catch two buses.

Earlier this year, Dr De Silva had put the idea of a branch surgery to Robert Goodwill,MP for Whitby and Scarborough, who at the time said it might have a negative impact on the future of Whitby Hospital.

But, Dr De Silva says ideas for the branch surgery, which include dental services and the pharmacy, would not impact on the hospital’s provision and changes there were not expected for up to 10 years anyway which would delay benefits for the east side.

He said: “In terms of cost, it is peanuts compared to the hospital.”

He added health prospects on the east side need improving sooner rather than later because residents needed to be mentally and physically fit enough to compete for the increasing number of jobs that are set to be created.