Health & Wellbeing Strategy
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8th March 2019: Amalgamation of Lyme Regis Medical Centre and Lyme Bay Medical Practice

The Clinical Commissioning Group has now clarified that the two Lyme Regis GP Practices will merge from 1st June.


This follows the announcement last November, communicated by letter to all patients at Lyme Regis Medical Centre, by press release, and through a drop-in question-and-answer session, that Virgin Care’s contract to run GP services at LRMC would cease on 31st May. 

At the time the CCG promised that more detail on what it called the ’alternative local arrangements’ would follow in due course.


So we now know that from 1st June the Medical Centre and the Lyme Bay Medical Practice will join together as a single Practice, led by Dr Forbes Watson. The intention is for GP and nurse services currently provided at LRMC to continue, in the same building. The only significant difference will be that, instead of being employees of Virgin Care, the doctors and nurses will be employed directly by this single local Practice, while the two separate patient lists will become one list registered with this Practice. 


Meanwhile, the Community Services provided to patients at both the present Lyme Practices and the Charmouth Practice have been put out to tender by the Clinical Commissioning Group, and the identity of the new provider should be known reasonably soon.


We are promised more specific information from the Clinical Commissioning Group and from Dr Watson as details are worked through.

20th December 2018: Clinical Commissioning Group publishes some FAQs on future services from Lyme Regis Medical Centre: FAQs.  The Option A referred to in the FAQs is this.
7th November 2018: Update on the provision of GP/Medical Services at Lyme Regis Medical Centre and the provision of Community Health Services for patients registered at any of the GP practices in Lyme Regis and Charmouth.


Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group has published some decisions as of 7th November 2018.



1. The contract held by Virgin Care for GP / Medical Services (ie doctors, nurse practitioners, practice nurses, management and administrative support) at Lyme Regis Medical Centre will end on 31 May 2019. The roughly 4,400 people registered at Lyme Regis Medical Centre are each receiving a letter from the CCG explaining this, offering reassurance that from that date 'GP services will be provided at the practice under new local arrangements …. services will continue at the practice in the future', and advising that there is no need to register elsewhere.


2. That part of the contract covering community services (ie community nurses and healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, and occupational therapist) will cease on the same date. In a few days a contract for these services will be advertised for tender by potential providers, with the successful bidder likely to be known by the end of March / early April. The future of the Minor Injuries Unit is excluded at present because the CCG is undertaking a Dorset-wide review of 'urgent care centres'.


Over the past year or so significant parts of the community services contract originally held by Virgin Care have been transferred: health visitor, school nurse, nursery nurse, mental health provision, and podiatry are now run by Dorset HealthCare, while adult social work service is with Dorset Social Services. 


Because community services apply to the roughly 9,000 patients across all three practices in Lyme and Charmouth, the letter being received today by LRMC patients does not explain this procedure for community services. There will soon be a CCG press release which should make both processes clear. 


3. Staff employed by Virgin Care at Lyme Regis Medical Practice were due to be briefed about these changes before they were notified to the public.


Work ahead for LymeForward Health and Wellbeing Group


These decisions mean that all registered patients can now know of definite end-dates for both parts of the process, and can appreciate where local efforts must be directed over the next months.


Beyond the CCG statement that GPs in its West Dorset Locality (a grouping chaired by Dr Blair Millar of Bridport Medical Centre) are 'developing plans … to ensure the sustainability of primary care services throughout Lyme Regis and the rest of West Dorset', the information so far available gives no specific detail about what the 'new local arrangements' for GP / Medical services will actually be. The CCG promises 'engagement events' and that residents will be 'kept informed of developments in this area as they happen.' On behalf of local people, LymeForward will watch this process closely and will continue doing all it can to ensure that residents' views are known to those developing the plans.


LymeForward will also monitor the contracting process for community services, with particular concern that these will be specified so as to be consistent with the CCG's own formal statement in its most important guiding document that 'More of our services will be provided closer to home, with improved access seven days a week.' The specification for this contract will be publicly available once the initial advertising for 'Expressions of Interest' is under way, probably in the week beginning 12th November. 

The CCG has given a provisional assurance that it will hold an open public meeting in Lyme as the 'developing plans' for both parts of this process become clearer. This would probably be in early February.

If you would like to discuss anything arising from this news, please contact Chris Boothroyd by email ( or phone 01297-442237.

Documentation Produced

In September 2018 LymeForward's Health and Wellbeing Group invited residents to contribute to a survey to create invaluable "data” for use when needed as part of the evidence supporting its recommendations to the Clinical Commissioning Group and to providers of health and care services. The results have now been analysed, with the report available here.


On January 18th 2018, representatives of the Health & Wellbeing Group met with Primary Care Commissioning staff at Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group to hand over three documents which represent the outcome of many months of hard work (see below).

These documents are:

  • a Baseline Reference documenting all the services currently provided into Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Uplyme to provide a checklist when reviewing the tender for the Lyme Regis Medical Centre and Community Services contract and against which future changes can be monitored;

  • an analysis of the gaps, weaknesses and concerns regarding current provision;

  • 15 proposals for improvement in provisions.

In June 2017, at the very short-notice invitation of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, the Health & Wellbeing group prepared a paper on ‘Local Considerations’ for use at the CCG ‘Engagement Event’ held on 26th June 2017. You can read this paper here.



LymeForward is registered as a Community Interest Company No 10381732

Financially supported by Lyme Regis Town Council and Dorset Council

with additional support from Charmouth & Uplyme Parish Councils