Westwood Health Campus plan submitted for GP surgery, care home, assisted living, retirement flats and children’s nursery

Proposed health campus site Image Clague Architects LLP

A plan to build a health campus on land off New Haine Road in Ramsgate has been submitted to Thanet council.

Developer Quinn Estates wants to create a primary medical care facility, a 70 flat extra care/assisted living building, an 8o-bed care home, two retirement blocks consisting of 90 self contained flats and a children’s nursery at the site which is at the rear of Westwood Sainsburys.

The medical care facility has been earmarked as the new premises for The Grange GP surgery which is currently based at the Montefiore Medical Centre in Dumpton Park Drive. East Cliff GPs, also at the Montefiore centre, will not be moving out of the premises and are hoping to expand the services they provide at the site.

Image Clague Architects LLP

Planning documents for the Westwood Health Campus development say: “The vision for the health campus is to combine a range of much-needed health and care uses to complement the wider, emerging with community at New Haine Road and the surrounding area.

“This exemplar scheme presents a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity for the district. It also offers the chance to provide enhanced pedestrian and cycle connections between New Haine Road and development parcels to the south as well as access to Jackey Bakers recreational ground to the east.

“This mixed use development will deliver a much needed primary healthcare facility providing GP’s appointments to the local population as well as providing a range of other residential care facilities.

“This care is graduated on the site from retirement living to extra care/assisted living to a full care/nursing home providing a variety of people the opportunity to live in the same location over a number of years as their needs change.

“The proximity to the primary medical facility is a key element of the health campus meaning that residents can be seen quickly and easily without requiring patent transport or GPs to travel great distances to attend to local residents.

“The layout of the development has been arrived at through careful analysis of the opportunities and constraints that the site offers as well as the surrounding context. This has enabled the site to develop a distinct character and sense of place of its own with open space set around a larger courtyard formed by the proposed buildings.

“This approach will help to create a friendly, safe and pleasant community that people can take pride in and which serves the needs of the local population as well as delivering key benefits associated with the health campus.”

Quinn Estates says it has worked on the proposals with the Integrated Care Board (previously Clinical Commissioning Group), The Grange Medical Practice and Thanet District Council.

Assisted living Clague Architects LLP

A planning statement prepared by Iceni Projects on behalf of Quinn Estates Ltd says the development would create 70 affordable socially rented units, significantly in excess of policy requirement, a nursing home and two retirement homes that would support the growing need for specialist accommodation for an ageing population and free up housing in the district; a children’s nursery that would support the growing number of families in the Westwood area and generate more than 80 full-time equivalent high-quality jobs.

The buildings will be low carbon and there will be space for the biodiversity.

Care home Image Clague Architects LLP

The statement says there is a current demand for both nursing care bedspaces and residential care bedspaces in Thanet with a total current shortfall of 839 beds, growing to 1181 beds by 2040 if not addressed.

Extra care need is shown as having an affordable shortfall of 309 units  growing to 1,103 units by 2040 if not addressed. The Westwood plan is for 100% affordable socially rented extra care homes.

Retirement block 2 Image Clague Architects LLP

Planning documents say retirement living need has a total current shortfall of 750 units in Thanet, adding: “To address the demand by 2040, the district will need to supply a total of 1,955 units which is a considerable shortfall.”

GP Surgery Image Clague Architects LLP

The need for a GP surgery in Westwood is also highlight in the documents: “The Ramsgate Primary Care Network (PCN), along with the neighbouring Margate PCN and CARE Kent PCN are all operating above the recognised benchmark GP to patient ratio.

“This could be expected to increase significantly in the coming years as over 5,000 new homes are allocated or approved within a 20-minute walk of the Site. The proposals would accommodate an increased workforce and registered patients over the coming years for the Grange Practice, which will bring numerous benefits including expanding and integrating services.

“The primary care facility has been progressed in full consultation with NHS Kent and Medway, and the proposed schedule of accommodation, proposed patient list size, and strategic need for the primary care facility are fully supported.”

Nursery Image Clague Architects LLP

A nursery is also planned to serve the increasing number of new families at Westwood. Documents say water efficient fittings will be provided within the buildings and rainwater harvesting will be considered. There will be new planting on-site and where feasible, a new wetland habitat and dedicated biodiversity area.

The Grange is currently at Montefiore Medical Centre

The Grange Medical Practice is currently asking for patients’ views via a questionnaire and plans to hold public meetings.

On the practice website it says: “For a number of years, Thanet CCG and latterly NHS Kent ICB, has sought to consolidate the delivery of primary and community care in Thanet District through the creation of a number of GP “Hubs”.

“The proposed Hub for Ramsgate involves the provision of new premises for The Grange Practice (“TGP”). TGP’s existing premises are recognised by the ICB as inadequate.

“Following an extensive site search a suitable site at Westwood Cross has been identified. The proposal is to relocate TGP to the new site from which it will provide a comprehensive range of primary care based services in purpose built new premises.

“An outline application for the entire site was submitted in December of last year and subject to your views, and the outcome of this wider application, we would anticipate a detailed planning application for the new GP premises to be submitted in the summer of this year.”

Plans, an FAQ and the questionnaire can be accessed at: https://www.thegrangepracticeramsgate.nhs.uk/2024/01/11/the-grange-practice-update-on-proposed-new-surgery/

Planning documents say all Grange staff would move to the new facility and it is hoped the workforce could expand in the two years after the move to provide 10 additional specialist staff, adding: “The Grange Practice is planning to increase its list size by 50% over the next 5 to 6 years so this will also increase the PCN workforce budget further.”

The proposal is understood to mean that both surgeries will have space at the Ramsgate and Westwood premises to expand services.

If planning approval is granted the new surgery will be built at the start of the development, without waiting for a “tipping point” of other elements of the development on the adjoining site to be completed.

Proposals for a GP surgery go back to at least 2017 when proposals were made to replace Thanet’s 17 GP surgeries with 4 extended practices, serving a catchment of between 30-60,000 patients, and a medical hub.

County Councillor Karen Constantine, who sits on the health scrutiny panel at KCC, said: “Health care across Thanet is being downgraded by degrees.

“I’m not opposed to the plans to open a new surgery and the other facilities on Westwood. With the growth of housing and population these facilities are going to be needed, on that basis, they should be welcomed.

“However, I am concerned about the (relocation) of a surgery that many residents in Ramsgate currently use. Moving the Grange practice to Westwood will mean the loss of access to a GP. Many people that I know who use this surgery are older and have mobility issues. Are these patients now expected to pay for taxis or will they be able to relocate to another GP surgery? This of course will mean increased pressure on surgeries that are already under strain.

“As ever, the devil is in the detail. And this being the NHS, the broader concerns pertaining to our NHS including clinical staff must be taken into consideration.

“The big picture is the GP ratio to patients, and the overall shortage of GP’s. I’m aware that a number of GP surgeries are downgrading GP numbers, functioning with fewer GPs by replacing them with Paramedics and ANP. In Thanet the overall number of GPs is important as we’ve had too few for a long time.

“Whilst I know staff will do their best to listen to our concerns I would also question the veracity of the consultation process. In the recent past we’ve participated in consultations with the NHS over a variety of issues which have resulted in our local community being ignored. This is why we don’t have HASU close by and will have to travel to Ashford in the near future. Not a great decision for the health of the local population.

“There has been an ambition to have a ‘super surgery, at Westwood Cross since 2016, since then there have been many challenges not least of all Covid. And the continuing decline in the numbers of clinicians, in this context, GPs are particularly important. The number of GPs across Thanet, in whichever surgery is a critical issue.

“People need to be able to access primary healthcare as close to home as possible. It goes without saying for those with restricted mobility or conditions that require close monitoring surgeries should be accessible.”

A decision on the application has not yet been made.

35 Comments

  1. Once again, EXISTING facilities are MOVED rather than new facilities or capacity created. We need completely NEW GP surgeries with NEW doctors creating far more capacity for this growing population. Thanet is about 20 or 30 GP’s short apparently. Local Authorities need to insist on NEW facilities, not simply the relocation of existing ones.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Also it has been a very long time since buses have run to Sainsbury’s as is stated in the FAQs. The nearest stops are the bus garage or WWX. Quite some walk.

  2. Does anyone know what the definition of affordable social units in relation to assisted living actually translates to in terms of cost ?
    Similar units run by Housing21 at Bradstowe court are. 160-200 a week.

    Seems a fairly sensible proposal , providing modern facilities. Difficult to see that it would be refused.

  3. What is needed everywhere are medical centres run by salaried GPs on a good salary, Dentists, again salaried, and yes, nurse practitioners, community pharmacists,and yes, where appropriate associate physicians.
    In short take the money making out of healthcare,

    • This stinks! Its a money making scheme for GP’s, remember they are NOT employed by the NHS, they are contracted to provide a service, and will be able sell off much of this development as they choose!

    • “where appropriate associate physicians.”

      “In short take the money making out of healthcare,”

      maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate, seriously. You need to get yourself upto speed on Phys Assocs

      The BMA has said they’re not Drs and shouldn’t be doing anything Dr’s do. They’re being used to hide the GP recruitment crisis (thousands less than tory targets…)

  4. Again, people living on the Kingsgate side of Cliftonville will be ruled out by the postcode, and have to stay with practices where you can hardly ever see a GP!

  5. “This mixed use development will deliver a much needed primary healthcare facility providing GP’s appointments to the local population as well as providing a range of other residential care facilities”
    How is this an improvement? Closing one surgery and opening another is not increasing capacity.
    It’s just relocating it to a more inaccessible site.

    • Yes, it’s difficult enough now to get an appointment with a doctor, in fact although the GPs are very good it’s easier to get an audience with the Pope than get to actually see one. What it will be like when they move to the new surgery and take on all the new patients, I dread to think

  6. It’s certainly not an improvement for the many very local Ramsgate patients who can walk to the present Grange practice or get there by means of a short bus ride.

  7. More GPs needed in Thanet. Existing surgeries e.g. The Limes are in very dire straits. As others have indicated, bricks & mortar don’t magic up the necessary personnel. The only way in which that might happen is if GPs are attracted by the prospect of working in brand new surgeries. When a surgery currently needs 7 or more GPs (as I believe is the case with The Limes) who’d want to work there? Instant overwork seems guaranteed.

    • Over the years i’ve been registered with 4 different gp surgeries in thanet. Which ranged from the truly abysmal Limes to excellent service in westgate and broadstairs. The obvious difference between them was the behaviour of the patients attending the surgeries, the Limes was some sort of walking dead cuckoo’s nest soap opera, where anything could happen, the best time to see a doctor was a sunny summer afternoon when all the ne’er do wells would be swigging cider or ingesting their drug of choice in the sun and you could walk in and get a cancellation.
      Why any GP would want to work there is beyond me, my time at ramsgate had similar issues but mowhere near as bad, Westgate and Broadstairs a whole different world and never a drama to be seen.

    • Hi, Chronic illness sufferer here.

      The Limes are nothing short of fantastic. Generally you find its people who malinger and hypochondriacally over inflate their illness and feel self entitled that moan about it.

      PS, try using Econsult. I’ve got an appointment the same day everytime using that service.

  8. Will the “Loop” bus be diverted to serve this new facility, or will sick, elderly and infirm patients be left to navigate the pedestrian minefield that WWX is?

    • Stagecoach won’t reroute down Northumberland Avenue and up Devonshire to serve Bethesda Surgery which has almost 20,000 patients and no buses, so why would it do so for this proposed new facility?

  9. 112 parking spaces will never be enough. Many elderly still have cars. Moving a surgery is no improvement if you have difficulty getting there. Just looks like more and more flats for Thanet. No bus service for the elderly as well.

    • if they’re in assisted living facilities due to long term illness affecting motor skills, sight, etc, then logically and legally the DVLA should have suspended their licenses.

  10. One of the lies out of many, that Boris Johnson told us was that he was going to “fix” the Social Care problem, yeah right! This problem is that if I need to go into “care” I will have to sell my bungalow, and use my savings to pay for it. But someone who has no property to sell, or savings is in the next door bedroom, and doesn’t pay a penny for the same “care”. What is needed is a national “Social Care” insurance, the same as National Insurance!

    I live in Ramsgate and like Karen said, how will patients get to this new GP practice? I have enough trouble getting to The Grange GP Surgery as it is, in order to keep to an appointment, on my Mobility Scooter, but there is no way I would manage to get to this new proposed location. And why is the Grange moving anyway? Every time I go their I am practically sitting in the waiting room on my own! Most seats are unoccupied, so I don’t see any need for it to move somewhere unaccessible!

    • Just like National Insurance, “Social Care” Insurance would only be paid by the working. So in the long run, if you had paid it. You would be worse off.
      The way our welfare system works by buying your own home, saving or bettering yourself in any way. You will be penalised. Do nothing and you will be rewarded.

  11. Some 20 odd years ago I bought a lease on a Retirement scheme, mainly because I wintered in Spain, and needed a secure home in the UK whilst I was away! What a mistake that was! There were 31 units and the Managers(sic) were hopelessly incompetent! Ove a 7 year period I managed to have £78,000 returned to the lessees, but I got fed up trying to teach the management, who were a Housing Association, their jobs! So, I don’t expect this scheme to be any different, and my advice is don’t buy flat there, because you will be expected to pay a “Service Charge”, that will probably bear no relationship to the actual Service Costs!

    • Of course you’re expected to pay a service charge…

      But given how you think you’re more of an expert than housing experts, well…

      • Hasn’t there been a lot of publicity recently about how leasehold type arrangements have had their service charges vastly increased, particularly when the ownership of the freeholder or the managing agent changes?

  12. Didn’t Quinn Estates promise to build an Hospital shell for Canterbury at a cost. This area needs more trained GP’s not more buildings.

  13. It is to far away from any bus services, they assume you can drive your car, and when you can’t you loose access to medical services.

  14. The Montefiore Medical Centre only opened in 2007! Moving to this inaccessible location when WWX is gridlocked already seems ill judged. We need more GPs not a huge impersonal hub. I hope to move to Eastcliff Practice I won’t use the new hub it’s too far and I worry my poorly partner will not get any home visits. The loop bus is not always reliable stops nowhere near the new location why must I pay for taxis? I am so disappointed by this news

  15. The “Questionnaire” is a farce.
    You have to download it, print out 11 pages (assuming you’ve got access to a printer), fill it in, scan it, then return it via an email address. Unfortunately, no email address is mentioned in the “Questionnaire”.
    And, for Pete’s sake, why is my religion, marital status or sexual orientation relevant?

  16. I’ve just had a look at Google Maps.
    It takes me 8 minutes to walk to the Grange surgery. 48 minutes to walk to this new hub.
    A vast improvement – not!

    • Your lucky you can walk Martha, many elderly people like me can’t, and have balance problems! And what about the Summerhill Surgery on the Margate Road, Ramsgate? I tried to move there a few years ago, but was told it was impossible as they only had one GP!

  17. Quinn Estates….Well, it’s well known how their “Carrot and Stick” schemes work.
    Remember the “promise” to build a Super Hospital for Canterbury, ( just the empty shell) then lease it to the NHS ? That was the carrot, the stick was planning permission for mass housing developments all around Canterbury…
    Wisely CCC didn’t fall for the bait.
    When the developers got planning permission to build around the Nash Road / Haine Road, they promised a Health Centre, and a new school…Never appeared. But the land allocated for the Health Centre is now an expensive elderly residential home.
    Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of these snake oil salesmen masquerading as Developers..
    They are only interested in lining their own pockets…
    TDC are very gullible when it comes to Planning…We all know it !

  18. what amount of patients does the Grange have on its books now? How many doctors work at the Grange now? we cannot get appointments now with whatever these figures are. do not see no improvement any time soon with a bigger practice, maybe more doctors but definitely more patients, bigger place with bigger problems. sort out the surgeries and appointments we do have now.

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