Greenhithe to Receive New Super Surgery for Over 13,000 Patients After Long Awaited Approval from Council

Greenhithe to Receive New 'Super Surgery' for Over 13,000 Patients After Long Awaited Approval from Council

Greenhithe to Get New ‘Super Surgery’ for Over 13,000 Patients

Plans for a new “super surgery” in Greenhithe have finally been given the go-ahead, to the relief of local residents and health leaders.

The proposed medical center, to be located on Steele Avenue, has been in the works for three years and will serve more than 13,000 patients from the area. The plans were unanimously approved at a recent meeting of the Dartford council, after facing initial opposition and concerns.

The development will involve the merging of two general practices, the Swanscombe and Bean Partnership and the Temple Hill Group. It will also provide services for patients from the Elmdene, Greenhithe, and Ivy Bower surgeries, and will have the capacity to register new patients.

According to agents MGI Limited, the new three-storey building will be a “once in a generation opportunity to improve primary care” and will offer a wide range of services all under one roof.

Initially, the plans faced opposition due to concerns over the location, parking, lack of trees, and increased travel demands. However, after consulting with the public, the plans were amended to include a green roof, new entrance point, additional tree and hedge planting, and cycle parking.

Local residents, councillors, and health leaders expressed frustration over the delay in approving the plans, as the area is in desperate need of improved GP services. It was feared that tens of thousands of patients would be left without a doctor’s surgery if the proposals were not given the green light soon. Three existing surgeries received eviction notices or were told their leases would not be renewed, leaving residents with limited access to primary care.

Despite objections, the council concluded that the urgent need for the facility, due to rapid housing growth in the area, outweighed any concerns. Councillor Claire Pearce, representing Swanscombe, emphasized the importance of taking into consideration the benefit for patients and the community as a whole.

The only change requested by council members was for an adaptation to be made to the parking provision, with an assurance that the applicant will maintain a balance between spaces for staff and those for patients. They also requested that measures be taken to prevent commuters from using the parking spaces at the medical site.

Once the plans are approved, it will be up to the NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (ICB) to decide whether to use the new building. The decision has been met with relief from local health leaders and patients, who have been waiting for improved facilities for a long time.

Kelvin Reynolds, chair of the Swanscombe and Bean patient participation group, expressed his gratitude for the decision, stating that it was long overdue. He urged the ICB to approve the funding soon, so the health center can open its doors by Christmas 2025. In the meantime, he also called on the ICB to find additional accommodation to assist GPs and their health care teams while they wait for the new facility to be built.

The plans for the Steele Avenue surgery are similar to those for a state-of-the-art medical center in Sittingbourne, which would allow a GP practice to take on 6,000 new patients. However, the plans have been put on hold due to concerns over the cost of rent raised by NHS Kent and Medway, who would help fund the practice.

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