New out-of-town ‘health hub’ plan for Great Dunmow

PUBLISHED: 10:30 12 February 2015

Angel Lane Surgery, pictured when a new consultation room was opened, could be replaced under the shake-up.

Angel Lane Surgery, pictured when a new consultation room was opened, could be replaced under the shake-up.

Archant

Great Dunmow’s two doctors’ surgeries could be replaced by an out-of-town super “health hub” under a radical shake-up of primary care services, the Broadcast has learned.

There are no immediate plans in place for this to happen but a new centre on the outskirts of Dunmow, which would incorporate all the facilities and services provided at Angel Lane Surgery and John Tasker House, has been suggested.

It is set to be discussed at a public meeting of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Great Dunmow tonight (Thursday).

NHS England is currently assessing how to “transform” the way primary care services in Essex are being delivered and is looking at working with GP surgeries to discuss the possibility of moving them into what have been termed “health hubs”.

Uttlesford District Councillor Vic Ranger, who is aware of the plans, told the Broadcast he thought a large health hub would be a good fit for Dunmow because the additional services it could offer would stop people having to travel to other towns.

“I think it is a good idea if sufficient space can be allocated in one area and if everybody is happy with the arrangement,” he said.

“I am sure the town’s doctors would agree that to be able to deal with people in one place at one time, so they can access all the services that are required, is a good thing.”

In Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) draft Local Plan, which needs to be re-worked after it was deemed inadequate by a planning inspector last year, land west of Great Dunmow and south of Stortford Road had been earmarked for a health centre, with space for parking and an ambulance pick up and drop off point.

Great Dunmow Town Councillor Phil Milne, a member of the Angel Lane Patient Participation Group (PPG), is adamant there still needs to be “a presence in the town centre”.

He told the Broadcast: “There is a need for more medical services in Great Dunmow, especially with all the new houses, because both the current surgeries are full. I am not against having a new health centre but we still need to have a surgery in the town centre.

“Technically Angel Lane has got room to expand and we have just put on two new consultation rooms. It offers a lot of facilities and there is car parking as well.”

He added: “The problem with having a health centre on the outskirts of town is that elderly people would struggle to get there.”

Carolyn Larsen, head of primary care in Essex at NHS England said: “As part of the ongoing development of primary care services across Essex, we are proposing a variety of different working models.

“NHS England across Essex recognises that primary care wants and needs to transform the way it provides services and are looking to GPs to work as ‘hubs’ covering a suggested minimum population of 20,000.”

Tonight’s CCG meeting will take place at The Maltings from 7pm.

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