A SURGERY in Churchinford will be reducing its opening hours from January after "higher than acceptable" levels of radon gas were identified in its building.

From January 8, Churchinford Surgery will close on a Monday and Thursday afternoon in order to limit staff's exposure to the naturally occurring gas.

The Blackdown Practice, which operates the Churchinford site, wishes to reassure residents that there is no risk to them, and that these measures are being taken to protect staff, who spend much of their time inside the building.

Those with appointments on a Monday or Thursday afternoon will instead be seen at the Hemyock site.

Posting on Facebook, a spokesperson from The Blackdown Practice said: "Following a recent scheduled health and safety audit, we have discovered some parts of the building have higher than acceptable levels of radon gas.

"This is a naturally occurring gas emitted from the ground found commonly across many parts of the UK. There is no risk to any patients from this discovery, however due to the number of hours staff occupy the building, there could be a small potential risk to our staff.

"We have sought expert opinion and are advised that until we can carry out mitigation repairs to the building, we should reduce our staff working hours.

"We are fortunate to have three surgery sites, and this means we can move staff around to minimise the disruption to our service.

"However, with effect from January 8 2024 we will have to close Churchinford Surgery on a Monday and Thursday afternoon as we are unable to cover these two afternoons within legally permitted working hours.

"We will reopen as soon as possible following completion of necessary building repairs.

"All appointments lost on a Monday and Thursday at Churchinford will be reprovided at Hemyock. As currently when we are closed in the afternoons, we will work with patients to ensure we minimise disruption to medicine collections.

"Whilst we work through this process, could patients continue to collect their medications from their normal surgery as much as possible.

"We apologise for this change, which is entirely outside of our control, and would ask patients for their understanding whilst our staff adapt to the situation."