STAFF at Tawstock Medical Centre in Chard have defended the decision not to send letters to tell people it had moved.

The doctors’ moved from its original location in the High Street to the new purpose-built centre half a mile away in St Mary’s Crescent on January 21.

The news was posted on the door of the former premises, on the website and has been conveyed to people booking appointments – but the message has not reached everyone.

Sam Browning, who lives near Chard, said: “A member of my family booked an appointment and wasn’t told about the move, so went to the old building to find a note on the door.

“I would have expected them to send letters out to all patients to let them know. It would have been nice to be told in advance so people were aware.”

Practice manager Michelle Allen said: “It’s awful that someone has gone to the old building because when you are unwell that is the last thing you want to be doing, but we hope it won’t happen to anyone else.

“We have tried to do everything possible to tell people but it’s really difficult to make sure everyone knows.

“If you are healthy you might not come for a year or more, so we decided not to send letters out in case it was just forgotten by the time the next appointment came round.”

Although the new centre is no longer on the High Street, Michelle said its new location had advantages.

She added: “It’s great to have parking space here, so that is definitely a bonus, and it is not too far a walk from where we were before – there is a little cut-through by the church.

“We have already had some lovely feedback from patients.”

Other new features include a self check-in option and a patient information screen in the waiting area.

District nurse team leader Helen Humble said: “This is now the Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne nursing hub, which means instead of people speaking to an answer-phone they can speak to a trained nurse when they call up, between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

“That is very reassuring and also means we can offer a more efficient service.”

An open day will be held at the new centre on March 1 – everyone is welcome to go along.