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Practice serving three times too many patients gets expansion approved

7 March 2016

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A practice that has three times the amount of patients than it was designed to deal with has finally had its expansion plans approved by NHS Englnad.

Sunbury health centre group practice, in Surrey, was designed to meet the needs of 6,000 patients and is now looking after 18,000, along with a higher number of patients between 0–9, 35–49 and 85+ years of age than the national and local clinical commission group (CCG) average.

It is now looking to expand and has had approval for five new consultation rooms in temporary accommodation at the site.

In December the practice was rated as requires improvement overall, but good in terms of being caring and well led, by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In the report, Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, stated: “The practice understood patient concerns in relation to the access of timely appointments and had increased appointments available each week following the appointment of additional clinical staff. However, the building the practice occupied did not allow them to increase the number of clinical rooms used and they were therefore currently unable to offer any more appointments with GPs or nurses due to lack of capacity.

“The practice was aware that the building was no longer suitable for the number of patients and had developed plans to address these issues but these were dependent on support and the adequate funding form NHS England

It adds that patients “did not always find it easy” to make an appointment, with some people queuing for when the front desk opened at 7am, according to local news site Get Surrey, but that in an emergency they can see or speak to a GP on the same day.

A spokesperson from North West Surrey CCG told the local site that: “We are pleased to learn that a recent application to NHS England for additional funding has been successful and this will be used to make much needed improvements to the reception area, waiting room and phlebotomy room.”

“The next step is a proposal to create five additional consulting rooms in temporary accommodation on the side of the building and longer term, to explore the option of a new, larger building on site,” they added.

Image of Thames Street, Sunbury, provided by Colin Smith.