By Anne North
|A small, rural doctors’ surgery in North Cornwall – closed for two years because of Covid – might never reopen because of staff shortages.
The St Kew branch surgery is part of the Port Isaac practice – a fictional version of which, “Doc Martin,” has entertained television viewers since 2004.
A public consultation about formal closure plans is to be held on Friday 1st July at 6.30pm.
Prior to the Covid outbreak in 2020, the St Kew branch had offered two hours’ consultations by appointment on Mondays-Fridays.
The catchment area includes several neighbouring villages, with hundreds of potential patients now facing the prospect of travel to either Port Isaac, Camelford, Wadebridge or Bodmin.
The practice had originally hoped to be able to re-open the branch surgery, if it could put in place improvements to minimise the safety risk to staff and patients. Following reassessment of the site, it reached the conclusion that a number of important and unresolvable issues make this unachievable.
Says Dr Beth McCarron “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and I’d like to reassure our St Kew patients that we have carefully considered the options.
|“The cramped layout at the site creates issues with infection control. Access is poor, with no parking, and the IT system is very unstable.
"We simply don’t have the staff or infrastructure to safely run the branch surgery."
The St Kew surgery was opened in the 1980s. Previously doctors from Port Isaac travelled to satellite communities, often holding surgeries in village halls.