Bethesda Medical Centre project gains £2.5 million government grant

How Bethesda GP centre could look

The government has announced £19.5 million in funding for projects by the NHS in Kent and Medway – including £2.5million for the extension of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Cliftonville .

The project, which will have a total cost of £6.5million, aims to create a state-of-the-art health centre where GP, nurse and community services will be provided to the growing local community.

Planning permission is currently being applied for from Thanet District Council and, if approved, it is hoped the new centre will open in 2020.

The plans, revealed by The Isle of Thanet News last December, are to create a new “one stop shop” for people in Margate which can cater for up to 32,000 patients, allowing them to get  medical and nursing services in one place.

If approved, the Bethesda centre will include specialist clinics for physiotherapy, audiology, ophthalmology, ultrasound and minor surgery, for patients from Margate and beyond – services which are currently only available in hospital.

The plans are for the centre to also have a gym for physio, an outside gym area, a bigger pharmacy, allotment space, a café and a community kitchen. It would be open evenings and weekends.

Bethesda Medical Centre

The new building will include space for teams of healthcare professionals to meet and to work together, including GPs, nurses, community, social care and mental health professionals and workers from voluntary organisations, where they can co-ordinate treatment for patients with complicated health needs.

The new facility, which will double in size, would also provide education and training space for medical staff, which could be used by patient groups too.

The project had also secured £2 million from the Estates and Technical Transformation Fund.

Tony Martin, Clinical Chair of the NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions healthcare across the district, said: “We were extremely pleased to hear this news which will help us in our bid to drive plans forward for patients.

“Our plans at the Bethesda site will help us to provide integrated primary and community care for our growing local community. We will be able to offer an enhanced range of services with increased opening hours.

“Bringing health and care services all under one roof makes things easier for patients, with them not having to go over their stories several times and also developments like this are a real draw for medical professionals and care staff, which will help with recruitment problems we sometimes experience.”

Isle GP plans

The proposal is part of wider plans to create three GP ‘practice groupings’ in Thanet, each serving between 30,000 and 60,000 patients, reported by The Isle of Thanet News in January.

The initiative is part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), created by Kent and Medway health trusts, the NHS, Kent County Council and Medway Council, which sets out proposals to overhaul the health system, including changes to GP surgeries and hospitals.

The STP says extended GP practices will provide enhanced in-hours primary care and enable more evening and weekend appointments and hubs – with an even greater patient capacity – will offer multi-disciplinary teams delivering physical and mental health services locally at greater scale and seven day integrated health and social care.

Original proposals were for four GP groupings – dubbed Primary Care Houses (PCHs) – made up of the villages, Broadstairs; Margate and Ramsgate.

New proposals reduce that to three by combining the villages and Broadstairs (Westwood)

Find out more about the proposals here.

The funding , announced today by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt, will be split between five projects across Kent and Medway.


  1. How wonderful, do you have to agree to be bombarded with religious propaganda to get treatment at Bethesda as has been the case previously? Is this an attempt to convert thousands of people to their fairy tales? I am assuming there will be no need for any other surgeries in Margate if this goes ahead, I would rather not have a doctor at all than go to this bunch of God botherers. Guess it will be the one next to Sainsbury’s at Westwood.

  2. I have emailed a list of questions to Dr Tony Martin about Bethesda and the superhubs primary care plan:

    1. Would you say that this is overall an increase in services and amenities, a reduction, or will the services and amenities stay the same?
    2. Will there be a public consultation on they change, and if so, when?
    3. Will the change result in fewer GPs or other medical staff in the short or long term?
    4. Will the any of the existing GP surgeries be closed, merged, or left to wither on the vine? Will there be continued and adequate funding for the existing surgeries? Are they likely to lose staff to the new units, and therefore have to close?
    5. Will the ‘extra’ NHS spend allocated for this proposal be spent entirely on construction work? Is it possible to provide a breakdown of where that spend will go?
    6. We are concerned that the infirm, elderly and people without cars will be forced to out of town locations for primary care; we would like to see guarantees that people in those categories will be able to continue receiving primary care within close proximity in the short and long term. Will this be possible?
    7. is there an estimate for how many GPs in Thanet are likely to retire in the next 5 years?
    8. What is the current GP FTE to patient ratio in Thanet, and how does that compare to the UK average and to ten years ago?
    9. Will the number of GPs in Thanet increase or decrease in the next 5 years?

    I’m hoping to get a swift response. In other areas of the country, they are pushing forward with similar plans without a public consultation. I think we need to know if this will result in NHS staff losing their jobs or a reduction of services in the short and long term, and understand where the money is going. The NHS badly needs an injection of cash for everyday running costs, but there seems to be a trend currently in providing cash to build new units whilst imposing cuts to funding for the running of NHS services, including staff pay.

  3. We have already been told that the Northdown surgery will merge and therefore will be closed.
    We have also been told that the new venue will look after ten’s of thousands of patients. Due to that we will still be stuffed when it comes to trying to get a doctors appointment.
    Ok for anyone having a heart attack as they will be given a nice ride all the way to Ashford where they will arrive already dead due to lack of immediate treatment.

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