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Doctor calls for change to x-ray appointments in town

A LOCAL doctor is calling for a change to the way people get x-rayed in the Melksham area. 

Spa Surgery GP Dr. Matthews has expressed concern that patients often have to wait up to two weeks for an appointment to get x-rayed in Melksham. This often means that people needing the service are travelling to the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath instead.

Recently, a new upgraded digital x-ray facility was made available at Melksham Hospital. However, the facility works on an appointment-only basis and offers no walk-in facility like there is at the RUH, meaning many patients tend to travel to Bath rather then wait for an appointment in Melksham.

Dr Matthews raised this issue at a health working group meeting attended by town and parish councillors, as well as representatives from Spa Medical Centre and Dr Mark Harrison-Smith from Giffords Surgery.

It was also noted that it would be more efficient and cost-effective for a small number of technical staff to travel to local hospitals including Melksham to provide a service, rather than tacitly encouraging many patients to travel to Bath.

Dr Matthews said at the meeting that he felt the current appointment system counters the aim of the local health groups to provide local and effective health care as the service is not used to its potential. For these reasons he requested that formal representation be made by the local authorities present to request the provision of a walk-in x-ray service, even if only on a rotational designated day basis, at Melksham Hospital.

All councillors, including Melksham Area Board chair, cllr Jon Hubbard, agreed to support the calls for alterations to the x-ray service in Melksham. The issue was due to be discussed at a recent area board meeting but as no health authority representative was present, the item was deferred.