NHS chiefs are asking for residents’ views on what services should be included in the £6.5million extension of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Palm Bay.
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.
The 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.
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 from 12 consulting rooms to 24, would also provide education and training space for medical staff, which could be used by patient groups too.
Now the NHS wants to know what residents think the new hub should offer.
Dr Jihad Malasi, chair of NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Our ambition is to make an amazing, positive, life-changing improvement to people’s health in Thanet.
“People have asked for one-stop shops where they can access health services, see their social worker, get help to stop smoking or lose weight, see a counsellor, get advice on housing and employment and all sorts of things that would make life easier. We know these would also help us provide more joined up care.
“Other areas have shown that working in this innovative way has huge benefits for patients, their families and the wider community and makes it much easier to attract new GPs, nurses and other staff – and that’s what we want for Thanet.
“I am delighted that this new development at Bethesda will deliver what local people have asked for and more. Now we want to discuss with local people the mix of services that this new facility should provide: we rely on their views to help us develop our plans.”
Planning documents submitted to Thanet council for the extension also show Margate Task Force will relocate to a new PCH Hub, which along with its own consulting spaces and minor surgery suite, will contain public educational services, an integrated multi-disciplinary team, and an administrative office for the task force.
The build will take place in four phases, allowing the main medical centre building to remain in operation while the large extension to the east is built. The remodelled centre is expected to be complete by 2020.
People can give their views at a meeting on Tuesday 9 October, 2pm to 4pm, at Quarter Deck, 50 Marine Terrace, Margate.
As space at the event is limited, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
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.