Shropshire Star

Plans for Shrewsbury 'super GP hub' put on pause due to lack of capital funding

Plans to create a 'super GP hub' in Shrewsbury have been put on hold because of a lack of available funds, NHS bosses have said.

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A national scheme that would have seen health and wellbeing hubs created in six areas across the country, including in Shrewsbury, has been paused by NHS England due to lack of capital funding.

The hubs – also known as Cavell Centres – were being considered in Shrewsbury; Derby; Plymouth in Devon; Hucknall in Nottinghamshire; Staines in Surrey and Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

Board papers from a NHS Devon Integrated Care Board (ICB) meeting earlier this month reveal that an application for funding for the Cavell Centres proposals had been unsuccessful.

Official papers from the ICB meeting said: "Originally the national Cavell team were expecting to receive capital funding for the six pilot sites through the last Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

"Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful and although funding was never promised for the project, NHS Devon was one of the six pioneer sites who were encouraged to develop the business case at pace while national colleagues sought the capital from underspends on other capital projects.

"We have since been told that no national funding is currently available, and that the Plymouth Cavell will next be considered as part of the CSR in 2024/25.

"On January 31, Simon Corben, head of NHS Estates and chair of the national Cavell Programme, wrote to the other five Cavell pioneers to state that all work should pause (unless ICB funded) until the national Cavell Programme Business Case is approved."

It is understood that while the previous bid for funding was unsuccessful, NHS England intends to place a bid for capital funding at the next Government CSR. The date of the next CSR has not yet been confirmed.

A spokesperson for NHS England told the Shropshire Star: "NHS England has paused the development of the project business cases, to focus on developing the programme business case ahead of a bid for capital funding for the programme at the upcoming spending review."

In Shropshire, the plans sparked huge debate and criticism from local politicians and residents – and even a public row between Dr Charlotte Hart, the GP leading the proposal, and five retired Shrewsbury GPs after they penned a critical open letter.

Since its initial announcement in 2021, it emerged that the hub would become the base for six of Shrewsbury's GP practices – and would also host additional services.

Those surgeries involved would be The Beeches Medical Practice, Belvidere Medical Practice, Claremont Bank Surgery, Marden Medical Practice, Marysville Medical Practice and South Hermitage Surgery.

Under the plan all of the surgeries would leave their current premises, and relocate to the same building – taking more than 40,000 patients with them - but proponents of the scheme say they would all would remain individual, distinct practices.

NHS Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin had been set to update councillors on plans for the Shrewsbury Health and Wellbeing Hub at an upcoming meeting of Shropshire Council's Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee.

The meeting is set to take place at 10am on Monday at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury.