£1.6m to be spent to help Brighton GP surgery to expand into new home

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Argus

A GP practice could be moving to a new home so it can expand services and take on more patients, The Argus reports.

The change for Ardingly Court Surgery in Brighton will increase its patient list from 8,500 to 12,000.

The proposal is for the practice to lease a revamped site in Old Steine and Pavilion Place owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.

The council is planning to borrow £850,000 towards cost of the revamp and refit to bring the building up to standards.

The NHS will pay a further £813,000 for the work.

The site is about 7,000 square feet, which is nearly 4,500 square feet larger than the current surgery at Ardingly Court.

Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would also pay back the cost of the council’s loan during the 20 year lease for the site.

The move could potentially lead to the practice getting more consulting and treatment rooms to allow it to recruit GPs and other staff to provide extra services.

It is hoped the planned transfer will help ease the growing pressure on GP services in the city, which is set to lose its eight practice in two years in the autumn.

A report to the council’s policy, resources and growth committee said: “Whilst efforts have been made to provide new facilities like those at Trinity Medical Centre, more surgeries are required to provide resilience and meet the increasing demand in the city.

“There is a relatively higher level of A&E attendances from those practices in the east of the city.

“Patient numbers are increasing significantly and other local practices have closed their patient lists.

“This places increasing demand on the reducing provision of GP services.”

Ardingly Court surgery was identified by the CCG as the practice most in need of premises investment.

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The report said this was due to lack of space and opportunities to expand to cope with the extra pressures caused by closures.

Housing developments, including the major one at Brighton Marina are also expected to increase demand on services in the area in the future.

The five story-site has been used as offices and is currently partly empty while the charity Team Domenica is on a short-term letting for part of it.

The report said the building could worth between £1m and £1.2m if it was sold but it was likely it would be developed into homes, which would increase pressures further on the NHS.

It was also be too small to be used for the social housing service run by the council with Hyde.

Selling it separately for social housing was also expected to lead to a subsidy which was less value for money for the council.

Renting it out as offices would bring in the same amount of money as renting it to the NHS.

The report said the GP practice, whose lease at its current premises runs out in 2022, would be consulting with its patients about the plans once there was more certainty around timescales and delivery of services.

There is currently a national recruitment crisis for GPs and nurses and practices have struggled to fill vacancies.