Company struggling to find site for new health centre

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Leicester Mercury | NHS Leicester County & Ruthland | 30 October 2009

A private company brought in to run a new health centre in Leicestershire is struggling to find premises to open.

United Health Primary Care, which won the contract from NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland, was due to have the centre up and running by the end of the year.

But two planning applications to convert empty shops – one in Oadby and one in Wigston – have both been rejected by planners.

Now, bosses at the company, which is also due to open a GP practice in the city centre for NHS Leicester City, have asked for help in finding premises.

Once up and running, it will open from 8am-8pm, seven days a week, and anyone needing to see a GP can turn up without an appointment and does not have to be registered with the doctors.

There will also be a new GP practice within the centre to cater for a total of about 3,500 people once fully established.

But the plans have caused controversy with local residents and among GP practices.

Doctors are worried that a new practice will take patients from their surgeries and force them to close or cut back on services.

They say money would be better spent on helping to modernise and expand existing practices in the area.

But a spokesman for NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland said: “The development is part of a drive by the primary care trust to offer greater choice and convenience by providing a wider range of services for patients with a variety of needs and at times which are convenient to them.

“The Oadby and Wigston area was chosen as a preferred location because there are areas there that have higher than average levels of hospital admissions and there are fewer community health services currently available.

“We are now looking at other options regarding the exact location of the premises.”

The Leicestershire County Council’s health scrutiny committee has already backed a new health centre for the area.

Tony Sampson, director of external affairs for United Health Primary Care, said there is now a possibility of using premises already owned by NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland.

He is optimistic that the company will be able to open the new health centre and GP practice by the end of the year.

He said: “We would have liked to have been offering services before now but we hope to open as soon as possible.”

He said that plans for a new GP practice were still on track.

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