Published date: 29 July 2020

Building works start on a new GP practice hub in Clacton

While lockdown rules have meant many people across north east Essex have been holed up, building work has been taking place on an existing NHS site in Clacton that will eventually accommodate two GP practices.

Under the plans, Epping Close Surgery and Frinton Road Medical Centre will move into Kennedy House, leaving their existing cramped, dated accommodation. Currently the surgeries have a total of around 9,000 patients – but when fully operational the new centre will support almost 12,000 patients.

The construction of a car park which will accommodate 66 spaces for the new practice is due to be completed by the end of July. It now paves the way for work to start on the inside of the ground floor of Kennedy House which will see the creation of eight consulting rooms, seven treatment rooms, a phlebotomy room and a digital facility.

Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of North East Essex CCG, said: “This is a fantastic scheme that will significantly benefit the way our local system provides health services to local people in this area of Clacton. “It will not only mean our clinicians can better support our communities but will also mean we are better utilising existing NHS buildings, and ensuring our valuable resource is put to the best possible use.”

Dr Garratt added: “I am especially excited by this redevelopment as it brings a range of new opportunities to provide services in the future. For example, our plans include a space for patients to learn from clinicians about how to better manage any health related concern they may have. We’ve also included digital points for our patients to have remote consultations or appointments when this is necessary, saving them the need to make unnecessary journeys to hospital.”

The MP for Clacton Giles Watling, said: “I was pleased to able to visit this facility before lockdown with Dr Garratt and was thrilled at the plans laid before me. This will be a fantastic addition for our local residents in this part of the town, offering increased access to services. I am excited to see how this project is really progressing now and welcome the approach of adapting existing NHS property into an even more patient friendly environment.”

Rita Garnett, Chair of the Frinton Road Patient Participation Group (PPG), sits on the project group. She said: “Frinton Road Medical Centre is no longer suitable for local people’s needs and we have been calling for improved facilities for some time. It is cramped, dated, no longer fit for purpose and does not have enough consultation rooms. I believe once complete that this new facility will go a long way to address these issues and I look forward to working closely with the CCG and others to support the future work.”

Paul Cross, Regional Partnership Director for NHS Property Services, said: “We are looking forward to working with our contractors to deliver this long-awaited project. This redevelopment will provide patients in Clacton with much needed additional and modern general practice space. We are proud to support the CCG and Suffolk & North East Essex ICS with their aims to provide the best experience for patients from NHS buildings”.

Dr Farrukh Shamshad, General Practitioner at Ranworth Surgery which will oversee the running of the practice, said: “I strongly welcome the progress that is being made to redevelop this site. As well as providing a brand new facility for our patients, I am very pleased to see that there will be a training space for clinicians. I believe this will help to recruit staff locally. I am also excited by the prospect of being able to offer a digital facility for our patients too. This will help increase local people’s access to services.”