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Campaign launched for 24 hour on-call doctor

A CAMPAIGN for a 24 hour on-call doctor in the town has been launched.

Campaigners want to see round the clock cover in Frome; currently residents have to travel to Shepton Mallet if they want to see a doctor during the night.

“When I was a child my parents would take me to the Minor Injuries Unit at the Victoria Hospital and if a doctor was required there would be one on hand,” said councillor Derek Tanswell, who launched the campaign with fellow councillor Sharon Snook. “Now we have a 21st century building and a Third World service. It does not make sense for valuable time at Bath’s A&E to be spent on things that could be dealt with in Frome.

“It’s time the people of Frome and roundabout took a stand. It’s not too much to ask and we need to make our voices heard.”

Resident Lenka Grimes commented: “You can get a vet out after hours but not a doctor for your children.”

When Nathaniel Green had to take his wife to the RUH as they could not get a doctor out, it involved getting his four children out of bed and driving them to Bath.

Steven and Alison Vezay and many others also think a doctor on call is needed.

The campaign is backed by county councillors Maggy Daniell and Alvin Horsfall.

Councillor Horsfall added: “Frome is the fourth largest town in Somerset, with an expanding population, and having a doctor on call is long overdue. The RUH charges Somerset for patients from Frome and the villages, and it would be better if that money was spent in the town. “

Councillor Sharon Snook added: “Derek and I are fortunate we have open access to RUH for our son, but for our girls and ourselves we are told we have to go to Shepton Mallet. Why disrupt whole families in the early hours of the morning when you ought to be able to go just ten minutes down the road to Frome Community Hospital?”

She said the RUH is like a war zone on a Friday and Saturday night, with so many under the influence of alcohol. “In Frome midwives are around all night, because babies arrive any time; but people become unwell any time day or night, so why isn’t a doctor available too? ”

County Councillor Maggy Daniell said: “Shepton Mallet is used as the on-call centre for Mendip for geographic reasons, but it never made much sense when you looked at the populations of each town – Frome has 27,000 people, three times that of any other town. Time has shown the system just doesn’t work for us. Now that things are changing in the NHS we need to get this looked at again.”