Bishop's Stortford GPs announce plans for new medical centre at Thorley Park
Ambitious plans for a new surgery at Thorley Park have been unveiled by the estate's GPs.
The partners at Bishop's Stortford town centre's Church Street Partnership have drawn up proposals for a state-of-the-art block with 13 consulting and three treatment rooms.
It would be built next to the existing Thorley Health Centre at Thorley Park's neighbourhood centre on a grassed site that was reserved in the original estate plans for a library. The current building would become an administration block.
Debbie Ryan, Church Street's practice manager, said: "We're hoping to develop our Thorley property to accommodate our medium and long-term patient requirements."
Negotiations with East Herts Council, NHS England and the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are already advanced and she expects positive progress later this year.
The Church Street doctors have financed the work so far and hope to secure pension fund investment to make the project a reality, bolstered by Section 106 cash for health services paid by Countryside Properties as part of its Bishop's Stortford South planning approval.
Dr Sian Stanley said: "This is not about the doctors or the staff, this is for the town. It's meant to deliver the level and standard of health care that the town deserves. We're doing this on behalf of the town."
Ms Ryan said the scheme was part of a wider response to population growth in and around the town by GPs working together.
The Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network – which comprises the Church Street, South Street and Parsonage surgeries in Stortford, Much Hadham Health Centre and Central Surgery in Sawbridgeworth – currently cares for almost 63,000 patients. The doctors are planning for 100,000-plus in the future.
Ms Ryan said Church Street, which has 16,353 patients on its list, would be maintaining its town centre presence "no matter what". She added that the Thorley Park extension was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to use the [Stortford South] development to make a difference".
She said: "What we want to do is make sure it benefits the town as much as possible."
Church Street also offers appointments at the Haymeads Health Centre at Herts and Essex Community Hospital.
South Street Surgery, with 20,938 patients, has made plans to move into the former Kitwood Unit at the hospital in 2021, leaving its current town centre premises while maintaining its branch at Bishop's Park.
In the medium term, it is negotiating with the developer of the Western Neighbourhood centre at Stortford Fields to occupy the surgery being built for the new estate.
As well as planning for accessible GP services in and around the town, the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network members are collaborating to provide out-of-hours appointments, special clinics and joint services. They have invested in an IT system which allows surgeries to share records with patients' permission and increase capacity.