Council to give doctors £750,000 towards £3.11m cost of expanding practice
- Credit: Archant
A council is to give £750,000 towards the cost of the £3.11 million expansion of St Mary’s surgery, Ely.
East Cambridgeshire District Council will find the cash from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts from the North Ely development.
The finance and assets committee are being recommended to agree the amount at its meeting tonight (Thursday).
St Mary’s hopes to relocate to a temporary modular building at the Princess of Wales hospital in Lynn Road whilst the work is carried out.
The practice says it has worked closely with the Cambridge Community Services NHS Trust in agreeing a suitable location and has the support of the trust in using this space.
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“This is an important move for the practice, as we must continue to provide safe and good quality patient care to our 15,800 patients whilst our site at 37 St Mary’s Street undergoes its redevelopment,” it says in a planning application to the council.
“We all believe that this location will enable us to deliver this.”
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In a report to the assets committee, councillors were told that over the lifetime of the North Ely development the CIL receipts will be £10.25 million.
Of these £2.5m will go to the Hive leisure centre, Littleport schools will get £3,463,000 and there is £622,000 allocated for the country park.
In total health projects will get £1.8m.
“For many years, the council has worked with key stakeholders to improve the availability of GP provision in Ely,” says the report.
“The North Ely development has consent for 2,000 homes with approximately 500 of these already being delivered. “This growth places significant burden on the current GP provision in Ely.”
The report says the demand on St Mary’s practice “continues to increase and it is becoming more and more difficult for them to deal with the demand on their services without needing to expand”.
“They have submitted a planning application for the expansion of their practice that will enable them to continue to accommodate this level of growth in Ely.”
A third of the overall cost will be borne by the practice with the remainder being met by public funds.
“If approved by all the relevant stakeholders, who all need to go through their own decision - making processes, the £3.11m expansion would be funded by the practice, NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and East Cambridgeshire Council.”
East Cambs Council says the apportioned £1,813,786 for health improvement means that this money can only be spent on projects that improve health projects that benefit the North Ely Development.
CIL funds cannot be used to support revenue projects, only physical infrastructure.
Among caveats put into the award to St Mary’s is that if it ceases to be a GP practice within 15 years of receiving the money, then it will repay £750,000 to the council.
St Mary’s has been at the same location since 1991 and hope to extend the surgery within the building’s existing footprint.
“The project will enable us to increase our support and training of clinical and non-clinical staff,” said a spokesperson.
“These are the GPs and nurses of tomorrow. We want to build for them, too.”
There will be some minor disruption as the surgery will need to move temporarily to another site.
Five doctors at St Mary’s are Dr Katrina Young, Dr Madeline Piggott, Dr Joanna Baker, Dr Ben Miller, and Dr Sam Rayner.
On their website they say that “building for the future will further provide us with opportunity to expand our clinical team.
“This will enable us to increase the scope and capacity of our healthcare services, to the benefit of each of our patients.
“This is an opportunity for the surgery to ensure it can meet new patient numbers, address health inequalities with an increasing elderly population, and meet the needs of those with long-term health conditions.
“It is also a great opportunity to look at how we deliver services, how we can further improve them and what new provision we can offer our patients”.
They added: “There will need to be some minor disruption for as short a period as possible as the surgery will need to move temporarily to another site.
“This has not yet been confirmed but we will be engaging with patients throughout this journey.
“It’s not just a surgery, it’s a place we work, it is central for the community, it’s a place our patients feel safe and we have as much passion as you do about keeping those qualities and improving and offering new services.”