The district council bought a failed Storrington doctors’ surgery for £625,000 in a bid to secure ‘good quality medical services’.
The cost of Mill Stream Medical Centre was announced at last week’s Horsham District Council Cabinet meeting.
Around 4,300 patients were forced to find an alternative health service when the Mill Stream practice was closed on May 31 by NHS England (Surrey and Sussex).
The council purchased the site from Mill Stream partner Joanna Bailey who was a practicing GP at the surgery.
A Horsham District Council spokesperson said: “Following the closure of Mill Stream doctors surgery in the North Street car park in Storrington in May, Horsham District Council (HDC) moved quickly in an effort to secure good quality and long term medical facilities for residents in the village and the wider area by purchasing the redundant Millstream building.”
Patients had to register at another local surgery, which included Storrington’s The Glebe, Pulborough Medical Group and Steyning Health Centre.
“As reported to council members on Thursday July 24, the sale is expected to be completed shortly,” the HDC spokesman continued.
The purchase of the Mill Stream site also provides HDC with access to nearby land it owns jointly with Storrington and Sullington Parish Council, which was previously landlocked with access to it controlled by Mill Stream Surgery.
The spokesmnan said: “Acquiring the old Mill Stream site not only gives HDC the ability to fully control access to land they already own behind it, but it also gives them an opportunity, along with local doctors to look at the North Street car park area as a whole and see how they could best develop a new medical centre there.”
This news comes after The Glebe in Monastery Lane announced in May that it plans to expand and merge with other facilities, but HDC said it is working with the other Storrington surgery to create their ‘new surgery’.
The representative continued: “HDC moved very fast to get past this first step in responding to the emergency situation and is now working with NHS England and the doctors at the Glebe Surgery to create a new surgery that will not only serve existing demand but be able to provide a wider range of medical services for the local community.
“To progress the project the council will be shortly appointing architects to work with the health professionals to produce outline designs for a new centre.”
At the time of Mill Stream’s closure, area director for the Sussex and Surrey Area Team (SSAT), Amanda Fadero, said: “Unfortunately, Dr Bailey has been unable to provide sufficient assurances as to the management of her contract and the protection of her patients despite significant support and guidance from Surrey and Sussex Area Team.”
Dr Bailey had been a partner of Mill Stream Medical Centre in Storrington for more than 20 years.
In an attempt to keep the facility open, Dr Bailey told the County Times her story, but during negotiations with the SSAT, Dr Bailey claimed that the senior director served a letter of the centre’s imminent closure just a day before she was expected to meet with the NHS authority to discuss matters.