NHS England criticised for ‘lack of urgency’ over future of GP services for Broadbridge Heath

Horsham District Councillor David Skipp - picture submitted by HDC ENGSUS00120130318094747

Horsham District Councillor David Skipp - picture submitted by HDC ENGSUS00120130318094747

  • Lack of urgency of future of GP services ‘serious situation’ according to one councillor
  • New application sees removal of health care facility from planned neighbourhood centre
  • Council officers working with CCG to find a solution
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The ‘lack of urgency’ over the future of GP services in the Broadbridge Heath area is a ‘serious situation’ according one councillor.

Proposals were put forward last year for a medical facility within a new Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre last year by the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

I think NHS England should take the credit for not looking far enough ahead and appreciating that there might be problems

David Skipp, chairman of HDC’s Health Provision Working Group

It was suggested this could involve several GP practices from Horsham co-locating to the new facility with the retention of some town centre provision for patients.

But David Skipp (LDem, Roffey North), chairman of Horsham District Council’s Health Provision Working Group, said ‘little was being decided regards medical provision’.

Dr Skipp suggested at a Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting on Monday March 16 that its chairman should write to NHS England and the CCG expressing ‘concern about their apparent lack of urgency’.

He said: “I think this is really unsettling for the patients because they do not know what is going to happen to their medical services.

“We thought it was important to put a marker down.”

While it is NHS England’s responsibility to commission primary health care such as GP provision, the CCG has been consulting the public over the future of NHS facilities across Horsham, Crawley and Mid Sussex.

The planned medical centre would also serve the new West of Horsham developments, rather than the original plan to include a doctors’ surgery in a new neighbourhood centre for Broadbridge Heath.

Countryside Properties has outline planning permission for 963 homes south of the village, but submitted a reserved matters application for the new neighbourhood centre earlier this year.

The application said that it was ‘no longer possible to include a health care facility within the neighbourhood centre’.

The design and access statement reads: “Horsham District Council have informed us that they have held numerous discussions with the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and there is no desire for a GP practice at Wickhurst Green.

“We have been informed that the CCGs are now pursuing a more complete healthcare offer, rather than a stand-alone GPs. As part of this we understand that the CCG are considering the option of occupying space within the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant development.”

But late last year the County Times reported that HDC was mulling a U-turn over demolishing Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, and was exploring the option of remodelling the existing facility instead.

David Sheldon (Ind, Denne) added: “We find ourselves in a situation where this could fall between two stalls not just for the existing residents of Horsham but what is actually happening West of Horsham.”

Dr Skipp added: “NHS England are beginning to understand there is an issue which should have been tackled some years ago in the planning stage which was not.”

He called it a ‘serious situation’ and raised the fact there was no provision for planned development North of Horsham ‘as far as I’m able to determine’.

He continued: “NHS England the CCG have to do better.

“I think NHS England should take the credit for not looking far enough ahead and appreciating that there might be problems.”

Officers said they were working closely with the CCG to find a solution for Broadbridge Heath.