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Housing developer to contribute to new ‘super-practice’ serving 1.7k homes

by Anviksha Patel
20 November 2019

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A housing developer is to help fund the building of a new ‘super-practice’ in the south of England due to the development of 1,700 homes in the area, commissioners have said. 

In documents released by Cherwell District Council, it was revealed that developer Portfolio Property Partners Ltd will provide ‘financial contributions’ for a new GP surgery to accommodate patients moving to the housing estate Himley Village in North West Bicester.

NHS Oxfordshire CCG said it is not planning to open a new GP surgery, but has laid out plans to expand three existing Bicester practices – including the creation of a new purpose-built site for two of them – which the developer cash will be used for.

The proposals are designed to accommodate the town’s expected rise in population of 20,000 people over the next 10 years.

Planning committee documents from Cherwell District Council show multiple housing developments are being considered in the town, including applications from Portfolio Property Partners Ltd, which will provide ‘financial contribution’ towards a new GP surgery serving one of the new housing estates.

The papers said: ‘[The developer would] provide financial contribution to the provision of a new GP surgery or such other interim measure as may be required.’

The documents also outlined the developers’ consultation with NHS England, which approved of a new practice and said a financial contribution ‘towards the funding of the new facility should be made in addition’.

The developer said: ‘This facility [proposed new GP surgery] has been necessitated as a direct consequence of the housing growth and the failure to provide this contribution would undermine the overall sustainability of the proposed house development.’

Funds welcomed

While NHS Oxfordshire CCG has said it has ‘no plans’ to open a new GP surgery, it said it will welcome funds for the super-practice.

The new super-surgery will be formed from the combination and expansion of three practices in Bicester: 20,000-patient practice Alchester Medical Group and 15,000-patient Montgomery House Surgery will move to a larger purpose-built site, and Bicester Health Centre – which serves 13,000 patients – will expand at its current site in the centre of the town.

Recent CCG meetings show the new site is expected to open in 2022. The two practices recently expressed preference for the new site to be in the south of the town, in Graven Hill, but the CCG has said it has not yet decided on a location.

A CCG spokesperson told our sister publication Pulse: ‘The new “super surgery” site – wherever is decided – will accommodate the two practices (Alchester Medical Group and Montgomery House Surgery) so the growing population of the town has access to primary care services.

‘We would welcome developer contributions to the new site above, but we are not expecting to have another GP practice in north-west Bicester.’

Chris A’Court, a spokesperson for Alchester Medical Group and Montgomery House Surgery, said: ‘We believe that the plans Alchester Medical Group and Montgomery House Surgery have put forward for the new super-surgery at Graven Hill, along with Bicester Health Centre’s expansion, will provide the necessary capacity for all patients in and around Bicester for decades into the future.’

He added: ‘Our practices are already carefully managing the impact of the significant boom in Bicester’s population, but delivering the new super-surgery on time for patients will be essential as the new housing developments fill up and further housing developments start to be built here.’