RESIDENTS in Caldicot who oppose planned housing developments have reacted with disbelief after a health board official said the sites wouldn’t adversely affect waiting times at the town’s GP surgery.

In documents made publicly available on Monmouthshire County Council’s planning website on August 16, the official from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) said that, in relation to the proposed 130-home development on the Church Farm site, “although there are some capacity issues in the Caldicot practice, they are resolvable within the current footprint”.

The official continued, saying the Caldicot practice’s staff were optimistic they would be able to meet the requirements of the residents of the Church Farm site, when completed.

The official said any specific concerns related to its practices would be sent to the council once ABUHB had completed its current round of practice visits.

Since being made available by the county council, the comments from ABUHB have been met with dismay by town residents. One of those locals, Kevin Hall, objected to the council in a statement which spoke of his “utter amazement” at the health board’s recommendation.

“How can someone be so far off the mark?” Mr Hall wrote. “Does this lady actually comprehend the Caldicot she refers to? This lady should get from behind the desk and experience the daily frustration Severnside residents experience all the time trying to obtain simple appointments.”

Some other residents shared their frustrating experiences of obtaining an appointment at the town’s GP surgery.

One woman, who said she was in her seventies, wrote: “It’s no fun getting up early, especially in winter, to get to the surgery by 7.45am, hopefully to be one of the first in a queue to get an appointment that day. “

I have stood in pouring rain and freezing cold to do this and I am in my seventies.”

Another resident wrote: “Interesting that someone sat in an office says the local GP surgery can cope with more patients. Experience from Caldicot residents will tell you exactly how difficult it is to get an appointment. The surgery is at capacity – or breaking point. The roads are the same and school places are limited. What benefit is there to stretch local services even further? This is not what the local residents want.”

ABUHB was contacted for a comment.