Health bosses hope work will start on new GP surgery later this year

Work on a town's new GP surgery should start this year, health bosses have said.

Campaigners have said they will keep up the pressure to ensure the project goes ahead.
Campaigners have said they will keep up the pressure to ensure the project goes ahead.

The Shifnal surgery, which will replace Shifnal and Priorslee Medical Practice in Shrewsbury Road, is needed to better accommodate current patient numbers and an anticipated population increase as a result of significant house building in the town.

It was initially hoped that construction of the new health centre would start in early 2020 ready for the new practice in Haughton Road to open this year, but the project was delayed.

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has now confirmed the scheme is back on track in a move that has been cautiously welcomed by campaigners, who say they will keep up the pressure until the doors are open.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said he was “delighted” that the plans had taken a step forward.

Mr Pritchard said: “The building plans are well advanced, there’s new funding from NHS England and that’s very good news indeed.

“I’m glad the NHS has listened to local needs and I’m glad that local councillors and Shifnal Matters have supported me in pushing the CCG and the regional NHS to make sure this new doctors’ surgery goes ahead.”

The CCG said improving facilities for Shifnal “remains a key priority”.

David Evans, joint accountable officer for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCGs said: “A new GP-led developer company has been set up, and architects, a legal team and contractors have been approached to move the project forwards.

“The practice, in conjunction with the CCGs and NHS England, is now finalising the detail for the new Shifnal Health Centre.

“It is hoped we will be able to confirm the commencement of building work towards the end of 2021.”

Councillor Ed Bird, one of the town’s two Shropshire councillors, said: “Everyone in Shifnal is thrilled to hear that finally we will be receiving a new purpose-built medical centre in the town.

“Shifnal has been subject to considerable house building over recent years, which has in turn meant that demand on local services has increased.

“The town council recently met with representatives from Shifnal and Priorslee Medical Practice to discuss the new practice in Haughton Road.

“This was the culmination of lobbying from our MP, Mark Pritchard, Shropshire Council, Shifnal Matters and local residents.

“I have been calling for this since I was elected, recognising that our local services were over-subscribed and I am delighted that the CCG has confirmed this important new development for Shifnal, including new funding from NHS England.”

Campaign group Shifnal Matters said that while the latest announcement was a positive step forward, there was still no firm commitment around timescales and how new GPs would be recruited.

John Moore from the group said: “It’s been ‘finally happening’ for nearly two years now, which is why Shifnal Matters has been so concerned to not let it drop.

“The history of this isn’t promising. All we can do as a residents’ group is keep asking the questions of what’s going to happen and when.

“The CCG hasn’t said if it will need new partners, and if so where they are going to get them from.

“We will keep asking questions but at least we have had a response from the CCG and it’s something to base our next enquiry upon.”

Mr Moore said residents had long had concerns over the current surgery’s ability to cope with the increased demand.

“It’s been a concern of the residents for many years,” he said.

“We ran a survey about two years ago and the responses were dire.

“You wouldn’t have to ask many people in Shifnal how difficult it is to get anything in the way of medical services."

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