Northdown surgery merger plans with Bethesda have been ditched

How Bethesda GP centre could look

Plans for Bethesda and Northdown GP surgeries to merge as part of the £6.5million extension of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Palm Bay have been ditched – meaning an amended planning application for the site may need to be submitted.

There are still talks about the two surgeries working alongside each other for the new build but as separate practices, according to minutes from the last Patient Participation Group.

Currently the surgeries are deciding on the room ratio as Northdown does not want to share reception, admin or staff rooms and wants more space than Bethesda is able to offer.

Work is taking place with NHS England to prepare for the build but if Northdown decides not to use the site then the plans will need to be amended because the list size total will go from 30,000 patients to 20,000 patients.

The plans, revealed by The Isle of Thanet News in December 2017, were to create a new “one stop shop” for people in Margate, catering for up to 32,000 patients with medical and nursing services in one place.

The aim is for the Bethesda centre to 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.

Original plans for the new facility were to double in size from 12 consulting rooms to 24, and provide education and training space for medical staff, which could be used by patient groups too.

The Margate Task Force would also 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.


  1. Our health service is in a parlous state. Too few Thanet GPs, now mean many people can’t get appointments when they actually need them. In turn this leads to avoidable pressures on A&E and our 111 service. Without a radical U turn, the reinstatement of the bursaries for nurses and midwives, we will not get to a position where we can plan our services and develop facilities that we need. We need staff and finance urgently.

  2. So Northdown could still merge with Bethesda and move to the Bethesda site, but Northdown is unhappy about the amount of space it will be given and is reluctant to share reception, admin and staff rooms. This is very interesting. If you attend one of these surgeries, I recommend that you join the PPG (Patient Participation Group) asap and get involved. Parrtners at Bethesda will be desperate to get Northdown to merge and be on the same site so that they can hit the 30k list size needed for a ‘GP super hub’. Perhaps the Nirthdown GP partners are realising that merging won’t be an improvement for patients after all…

  3. Bigger is not always better as some may think. Nothing is personal once you are looking at super hubs, just like with the Stroke services being made a super hub and moved across Kent to Ashford, you lose all touch with who your doctors are and the treatment you deserve. Sharing your practise with 30 odd thousand others trying to get an appointment, it would be a nightmare if it isn’t already. I know many who give up on trying to get to see a doctor because they find it impossible. They end up trying to go without and end up in A&E which are trying to cope with endless patients. This cannot possibly be good use of our NHS services and finances. The only winners are the Managers of these hair brained schemes on big salaries.

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