Works begins on project to improve medical centre

Work has begun on a 15-week project to extend a Lowestoft medical centre and improve facilities for patients.

Work has begun on a 15-week project to extend a Lowestoft medical centre and improve facilities for patients.

It includes increasing the number of GP consulting rooms at the Crestview Medical Centre, Crestview Drive, from three to seven, which will result in patients having a choice of four family doctors rather than the current two.

The number of nurse treatment rooms will rise from one to two and the improvements will also involve building a bigger waiting area, installing automatic opening doors, creating a buggy park, improving access to toilet facilities for disabled people and an automatic check-in system for patients.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT) is providing £325,000 for the extension, which will cover most of the cost of the development.

The centre, which has 4,221 patients on its books, is a branch surgery of the Alexandra Road practice, which has 9,502 patients. The extension will be half the size of the current building.

One nurse practitioner, a practice nurse and a health care assistant work there, although not all at the same time because of the current lack of space.  Other health care professionals who work at Crestview Medical Centre include midwives, health visitors and mental health link workers.

Barbara Craddock, the practice’s business manager, said the number of patients at both surgeries had been rising constantly, in part because Crestview is located in an area earmarked for residential development. The extension would mean the practice could continue to take on new patients. 

“We currently have six GPs, two of whom work from Crestview, but the expansion means we will be taking on two additional doctors,” she said.

“The first will start next month and the second, a single-handed GP currently working in his own practice in the town, will join us on 1 July and bring his 2,500 patients with him.

“There is enormous pressure on both our surgeries in terms of space and without this extension we would have to give serious consideration to turning away new patients.”

Mike Stonard, Chief Executive of Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting this important local development which will ensure the practice can expand to meet local growing demand as well as providing better facilities and a better environment for patients.”

The extension is being built onto the front of the existing medical centre, an 18-year-old bungalow-style building, and is scheduled to be completed by 22 June.

At first it was anticipated the centre would have to close at some stage during construction work but the partners and builders had come up with a plan to avoid this. The centre opens 8.30am-6.30pm, Monday-Friday.

The practice has recently become a training practice and currently has one trainee GP but this number is expected to rise in the future. The extension will include training facilities.

The partners believe that taking on trainees will help to foster an atmosphere of education and training which will benefit patients and also help with the recruitment of GPs in the future.

As well as six GPs, the practice has three nurse practitioners, three practice nurses, one health care assistant and reception and administrative staff.

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