A five-year battle to expand a village doctors’ surgery looks set to drag on still further.
Staff and medics at Billingshurst Surgery had hoped that work on an extension would start in July - but no work has yet been started.
However - despite the delay - patients might soon find it easier to get an appointment to see a doctor because of a change in access hours.
Plans for the surgery extension - which would provide five extra consulting rooms, a new treatment room, a passenger lift, improved waiting areas and imporoved areas for record storage - were first put in place five years ago.
The Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group - which pays for and monitors local health services - said in July that NHS England still needed to approve the scheme but it was expected to give the go-ahead ‘soon.’
But, acknowledging the delays this week, a commissioning group spokesperson said: “We absolutely appreciate the time it has taken to reach this point in the planning process for the expansion to Billingshurst Surgery, and the support there is in the community for this to move forward.
“The clinical commissioning group gave our support for the scheme earlier this year but we do not hold capital funds to pay for the work and it is going through a national scheme to get the funding it needs.
“NHS England is going through the final approval process and working directly with the practice.
“In terms of access to GP and nurse appointments, we are really pleased to share that in the next two weeks a new service will go live which will mean that people can book evening and weekend appointments.
“Based in GP access hubs, which will be GP practices across Coastal West Sussex, people will be able to get appointments up to 8pm at night and during clinics on a Saturday and Sunday.
“This may not be at your own practice, but you access these appointments in your normal way – by calling your GP practice and they can advise you of what is available.”