June 6, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea resident voices fears at medical centre changes

A Burnham-On-Sea resident has voiced her concerns at plans to withdraw vital Warfarin blood testing by Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre.

As first reported by, a shortage of doctors and nurses means the centre in Burnham's Love Lane is to withdraw Warfarin blood testing and management service from July 1st.

Burnham-On-Sea resident Phoebe Pearce, pictured, spoke out about the proposals during the latest Town Council meeting on Monday night (June 5th).

She said: "On Saturday morning (3rd June) many Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre patients, who take the anticoagulant drug Warfarin, received a letter telling them that the CCG has decided to close the Warfarin Clinic provided at the surgery from 30th June. The letter told them that they would either have to change to a different drug, or change their GP surgery."

"This news has been shocking, not only to the patients concerned, but also to their families, friends and carers. Many of the patients who received this letter will have complex health needs, and some may be quite vulnerable. The letter will have caused stress and anxiety to many. Many of the patients will have experienced considerable worry while waiting for the surgery to open on Monday morning. The letters were sent out on Friday 2nd June."

"Warfarin is a drug used to prevent blood clots forming in normally circulating blood, thereby preventing (amongst other conditions) stroke, heart attack, and deep vein thrombosis. Most patients who take Warfarin will have already suffered from one of these life threatening conditions. Patients taking Warfarin need to have frequent checks to make sure that their blood is clotting correctly."

"While there are alternative anticoagulant drugs available, these are not suitable for all patients. The choice of medication should be at the doctors clinical judgement in consultation with the patient, and not determined by NHS management convenience. The NHS website says that most people who need an anticoagulant will be taking Warfarin"

"The choice of GP surgery is an important one, and many people stay with a surgery for many years. This allows a good healthcare relationship to be established between the patient and healthcare providers. While it is usually quite straightforward to change surgery, it often takes up to eight weeks to transfer the patients notes."

"Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has given this group of patients only 27 days notice of the closure and therefore the need to change surgery."

"In the Burnham-On-Sea area the choice of surgery is limited, most patients will only have a choice of Highbridge Medical Centre or Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre. Some patients will have very good reasons for not wanting to change."

"The CCG will, of course, say that they are acting within their authority and are trying to make the best use of their limited resources."

"This is a significant change to the healthcare available to residents in Burnham-On-Sea and surrounding areas but there seems to have been little or no public consultation on the change."

"Somerset CCG estimate that 1,000 people in Somerset per year suffer from a stroke. In 2014 the CCG identified that better stroke care was needed for the people of Somerset, this plan included a specialist stroke centre in Taunton and investment in community services to aid the rehabilitation of patients. The Warfarin clinic is part of those rehabilitation services."

The Town Council is set to write to Somerset CCG to voice its concern about the changes.


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