The Beacon Medical Centre

Sidmouth Primary Care Improvement Project

Update 7.9.23

Building work continues to progress on the Beacon site.  After a few delays we hope to have the second phase of the extension handed over to us mid October to be operational from 23rd October.  At this point a large portion of the car park will be returned to us and the builders move into the final third phase to reconfigure some internal upstairs space to provide new clinical and administration space.


This is really exciting for patients and staff.  We have been working on this with our patients and vital support from our Patient Participation Group for nearly 5 years now.  We have continually listened to our patients and amended plans to deliver the best options for patients.  The new development when complete will offer 15 new rooms,  an additional operating theatre with recovery, large meeting room and additional parking.  This has been a really challenging time for general practice with many GPs leaving the profession.  We have been working hard to build our team and have recruited some new GPs, nurse practitioners,a pharmacy team, physiotherapists, mental health workers, wellbeing coaches and a paramedic.  This additional space is much needed for our growing diverse team putting us in a good position to better support patients.


This has been quite possibly the worst time to build with rising borrowing and building costs.  Turn out costs are expected to reach almost £3 million.  There remains a funding deficit to help deliver the project within budget. We would like to thank patients for support who have donated money to help support the project or contributed to the Sid Valley Equipment Fund to help this move forwards.  Patient support is always greatly valued.  If you wish to make a donation please contact or call us on 01395512601 or write to us.


At the same time a 3 room facility with reception is due to start operating from Sidmouth Victoria Hospital for those in the centre of town who can no access the Beacon Medical Centre. We continue to work with NHS Property services and Devon county council to deliver the best solution for patients on this site.  The hospital rooms are just waiting for IT to go in and lease arrangements with NHSPS to be finalised.


Update 20.7.22

Sid Valley GP practice gets go ahead to expand Beacon site

Sidmouth GP practice, Sid Valley Practice, has announced plans to improve and expand facilities at the Beacon site, while re-locating the Blackmore site to Sidmouth Community Hospital in the town centre next year.

The expansion at Beacon will mean a staggering 16 new rooms will be available for patients and staff at the Beacon site in late 2023 – a significant increase to the capacity of the current practice and their ability to provide services.

The improvements will enable more physiotherapists, pharmacists, mental health workers, administration support and a team to support care home residents to work from the site.

Dr Joe Stych, a GP at Sid Valley Practice, said: “This is excellent news for the people of Sidmouth and surrounding areas.  The expansion enables us to provide significant additional capacity to our clinical teams, ensuring we can provide much more access to appointments for our patients.

“With well-known challenges across the country in the recruitment of GPs, it’s vital that GP practices expand their clinical teams to a wide range of specialties, and we will be able to provide this additional workforce through the new, expanded space.”

Rooms will also be available to student nurses, medical students, and GP trainees.

Dr Stych added: “Access to more clinical space will help us to attract future doctors and nurses to the area.  We will also have more room for social workers, midwives, mental health workers and research nurses to see patients locally, which is vital to improving patient care.”

The additional space will also mean the practice is well-placed to see increasing numbers of patients from the Newton Poppleford area, who have been keen to join the practice list for many years.

An extra operating theatre at the Beacon site will provide more operating time for skin cancer surgery and carpal tunnel surgery, saving patients from having to make a journey to Exeter.

Office staff will move onto one site, to streamline administrative services and provide more efficient handling of phone calls and administrative requests coming into the surgery.

The Blackmore branch surgery, which has a lack of safe and modern healthcare facilities, will re-locate to Sidmouth Community Hospital, where the practice will be able to continue seeing patients in the town centre if they can’t travel to Beacon.  GPs and the wider clinical team will run clinics from both the Beacon and Hospital sites, ensuring patients from across the town have access to their GP and continuity of care. The same services that were provided at Blackmore will be provided from the Victoria Hospital.

Dr Stych added: “We have worked very closely with our Patient Participation Group, our patients and Healthwatch Devon to ensure that people continue to receive care in the town centre and that the re-location to the Hospital doesn’t adversely impact their care.”

Patients will be able to access Beacon or the Hospital for their GP, nurse or healthcare assistant appointments.  The Sid Valley Practice will have exclusive use of three clinical rooms, waiting room space and a manned reception.

Patients of the practice will continue to access services in the same way as they do now – either online through the practice website, via the telephone or through reception.  Both premises will continue to have a face-to-face reception service.

Sidmouth Community Hospital, run by the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Trust, has modern facilities, and already provides a range of outpatient services for the Trust.

The practice has said that the improvements will not only improve access for patients, but they will also have an impact on staff and patient wellbeing.  Dr Stych added: “By expanding our facilities, we will be able to attract more clinical staff to work at the practice, helping to make our services more sustainable and safeguard them for the future, in turn improving access for patients to appointments.”

In late 2020, Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay were commissioned by Sid Valley Practice to seek further local opinion on the proposed Beacon Development, specifically with harder to reach groups. Pat Harris, Strategic Lead for Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay is pleased the findings outlined in their engagement report have been used to improve and expand facilities:

“Our report showed a clear need from patients to maintain a service in the town centre and that many patients considered that extension plans would be beneficial. We are delighted this patient feedback has been listened to and used to develop and enhance the service on offer to the local community.

“It really makes a difference to residents when they are heard and placed at the heart of healthcare delivery planning. We hope that the people of Sidmouth and surrounding areas see a positive improvement to their care and continue to share feedback with us at Healthwatch about the service they receive.”

The practice received a grant from NHS England towards the project to enable them to progress. Liz Cosford, NHS England South West Interim Director of Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning, said: “This is fantastic news and was supported by the NHS England Estates, Technology and Transformation Fund to carry out design and planning of the extension. Once complete, the expanded site will allow teams to provide high-quality care and treatment to the local population.”


Update 9.6.22

We are pleased to announce that the CCG has approved Sidmouth’s Primary Care Improvement Project.  The team has worked hard to secure approval and funding for the scheme which should stand primary care in Sidmouth in a strong position for years to come.

The changes will see an extension to the Beacon Medical Centre and a new branch surgery open in Sidmouth Hospital.  The current outdated Blackmore Health Centre will close but not until the new facilities are up and running.

It has been a difficult time to get this over the line with escalating borrowing and build costs.

Please be reassured there will be no disruption to services while the project evolves.  Once we know timeframes we will let you know but we are hopeful work will start in the next 3-6 months maybe sooner.


11 April 2022 – Formal Application made to CCG for extending Beacon and moving centre of town branch from Blackmore to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital

Application 11.4.22 for service changes

Summary of Patient Engagement April 2022

Patient Engagement Summary Report -web site version

As part of its application to the CCG the practice compiled a summary of patient engagement activity to support any proposed changes.  Throughout the project we have worked closely with our Patient Participation Group and their input has been key to getting the right solution for patients.

PPG Support Letter

Update 29.1.21 Planning permission for Beacon extension approved.  This confirms we can extend the Beacon site so we must now focus our plan for centre of town services and review potential impact of the proposed changes on patients and staff.

Beacon Planning Approval 210129

Beacon Development Update 3.11.20

The practice is working with our patient group on plans for surgery expansion.  3 working groups have been set up to provide the best results for patients.

  1. Survey Feedback – We have reviewed all comments made by patients with our patient group and responded to these.  We have set up these groups to help communicate with patients and address common themes raised such as parking and centre of town service provision.
  2. Transport and Parking Group – We have updated our original plans so the Beacon site has an entrance and an exit to help traffic flow.  We have significantly reduced traffic flow to the Beacon by working remotely where appropriate.  Where patients still need to be seen we have more staggered appointment times so people are arriving and leaving at different times.  We are working with local bus companies to improve public transport to site.  We are exploring the option of a minibus to help patient get to appointments.  Alternative parking locations are being reviewed.
  3. Centre of town service provision –  Patients should not notice a significant change in centre of town services.  We are looking at how services are best provided from the centre of town.  Patients needing to be seen in the centre of town will still be able to get appointments from Sidmouth Hospital with their GP, a nurse or HCA.

The planning application for the Beacon Development has launched.  You can find details of the application and how to make comments on the East Devon planning site.

Health Watch Report

Please find attached the Health Watch report on further patient engagement which was run to help seek further patient engagement in addition to our earlier in house survey which has been reported previously.

Healthwatch Devon are helping seek further local opinion on the proposed Beacon Development.  We have asked Healthwatch to identify and engage with patients who may not have had the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes yet to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.


Many thanks for all the feedback on the Project.  We have put together all the questions people have raised and the responses to questions.  If you are interested in reading these please click the link below:

Schedule of Response Comments

The initial survey had a great response.  Please find results as of 8.9.20 below.

Survey Results 8.9.2020

In discussion with our Patient Participation Group we have decided to run some further engagement work in harder to find groups.  We want to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard so have commissioned Healthwatch to do some further engagement work to make sure no one misses out.  Details of the further engagement work will follow shortly.


Please read our plans about how we can improve primary care services in Sidmouth.

If you would like to download our printable leaflet click here  SPCIP Flyer 

If after reading our plans your would like to complete a survey about our project you can click here


Our Proposed Plan for the Future

We are exploring the option of extending the Beacon Medical Centre and moving the centre of town branch surgery from Blackmore Health Centre  to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital.

The move will allow the Practice to expand its range of services and offer a better environment in which to see patients.  The scheme will increase capacity to meet existing and future population needs.

By working with the hospital team we hope to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital and help get people home promptly.

This scheme will help us recruit doctors and nurses to future proof primary care services in the Sid Valley.

Why do we need to make changes?

We are doing this because we have no free clinical rooms and need more space. More work is moving out of hospitals into the community.  We are working with local practices in Primary Care Networks to provide more services and need additional space to do this.  We are keen to expand our training and research roles and need room to do so.  We are struggling to recruit new staff to our teams with the current set

Blackmore is unfit for purpose it is a very old building not well suited for modern healthcare facilities.   This move would allow us to integrate primary care and hospital services while continuing to offer a service in the centre of Sidmouth.

Why the hospital site?

From previous patient engagement we are aware of the strength of feeling in favour of a presence being maintained in the centre of town.  We are excited about the benefits of integrating primary and secondary care.

Plans –  Beacon Medical Centre Development  

 In approaching the design, it has been key to ensure any extension enhances the existing facility and does not compromise the functionality of the layout. We hope that the final design complements the area around it.





















Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Plan

Two clinical rooms within the hospital have been identified for sole use by the practice.  Other rooms would be available for use on an ad hoc basis.

Has the practice considered other options ?

We have been through a long list of options for this project.  Their advantages and disadvantages have been considered by NHS England and Devon CCG.  The process concluded that an extension to the Beacon and a move into Sidmouth Hospital provides the best outcome across a range of factors.  Key considerations that influenced the preferred option evaluation are:

  • This is the only option that will allow for sustainability in primary care in both the short and long term within the area
  • It will ensure that general practice services are preserved in the first instance and given space and location to grow and so meet future demand
  • ETTF funding has been secured to get the project through planning. Both NHS England and Devon CCG are supportive of this scheme and we are working together to secure funding to complete the project

How is the scheme being financed ?

The practice has secured a grant from NHS England from the Estates and Technologies Transformations Fund to get the project to the point of being able to go out to tender.  The next step would require a further allocation of grant funding for which we are sitting in a good position.  However with the ETTF scheme finishing at the end of March 2021 it is important we move through the process swiftly.  NHS Property Services, who own Sidmouth Hospital and Blackmore Health Centre, would pay for any room alterations needed on their site.

Why are you doing this now? Can’t it wait until Coronavirus goes ?

We are operating under a tight time schedule to secure further grant funding from the ETTF scheme.  It is with genuine regret that this has led to the planning permission process commencing whilst we are all in lockdown – if nothing else it greatly hampers our ability to explain our circumstances to you. But we hope that you can use these FAQs and our email channels to raise any questions and that we can adequately respond to your concerns.  If we delay this process we risk losing funding.  We have created a good argument for supporting a move into Sidmouth Hospital.  There is a national move away from branch surgeries and  if we do not move forward at this time we worry that this position to re-provide this service may not come again.

Does this mean any current hospital services will have to go ?

 No.  There will be no reduction in services provided from Sidmouth Hospital due to this plan.  No services will be moved onto other sites to accommodate this project.

Benefits for patients

The move will allow the Practice to expand its range of services and offer a better environment in which to see patients.  The scheme will increase capacity to meet existing and future population needs.

By working with the hospital team we hope to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital and help get people home promptly.

This scheme will help us recruit doctors and nurses to future proof primary care services in the Sid Valley.

What happens next ?

We will collect feedback from the public consultation and reflect on this. It is important we have the views of our patients to be considered by the planning department.

How can patients have their say ?

We should like your feedback on our plans. You can contact us by email at:
We are encouraging everyone to complete the short survey, click here to complete.

Alternatively a paper copy will be available from outside reception at Blackmore Health Centre or Beacon Medical Centre and can be returned to either facility or by post to: The Beacon Medical Centre Sedemuda Road Sidmouth Devon EX10 9YA
Given the Covid situation we would strongly encourage patients to use the online option if they can.

Raised Concerns:

Would I still get to see my Doctor?

Yes all GPs who hold lists would have appointments available in Sidmouth Victoria Hospital.

I don’t drive, how would I get to a new Health Centre?

Your current method for getting to the surgery should not change.  The current patient car park in the centre of town would remain.  The hospital is adjacent to the Blackmore Health Centre.

I ‘m housebound, would someone still be able to come and see me at home?

Arrangements for home visiting patients would not change under this scheme.

At the moment I park my car for free when I visit the surgery.  Would I have to pay to park to visit the hospital?

No.  There is limited parking on the hospital site and in the adjacent roads.  We would encourage our patients to continue to use our surgery patient car park we share with the library.

Why is the practice so stretched?

During this process we have tried to understand why the practice is so busy.  Firstly the population of Sidmouth is noted to have one of the largest percentages of over 85 year olds in the country.  In developing the activity and capacity model this has for the first time been recognised and taken into account.

The practice has worked to analyse the impact of this elderly population in terms of the estimated number of attendances per year.  This found that the average consultations for the practice was 9.62/year/patient compared to the national average of 5.5.  This helps explain the challenge in providing appointments.


Date published: 16th July, 2020
Date last updated: 7th September, 2023