Hardwicke House GPs could move to £5 million purpose-built centre at Belle Vue House, in Sudbury

Artist impression of Hardwicke Medical Practice, Sudbury

Artist impression of Hardwicke Medical Practice, Sudbury - Credit: Archant

Plans to relocate the Hardwicke House Group Medical Practice in Sudbury to larger £5 million premises have moved one step closer to reality this week.

The GP practice, the largest in Suffolk, has applied for funding from NHS England to relocate from its Stour Street surgery and Meadow Lane surgery to a single purpose-built facility at Belle Vue House.

The practice, which currently supports 22,800 patients in the Sudbury area, expects its patient population to rise by up to 18% over the next decade.

“We are currently working out of inadequate surgery premises in Stour Street and Meadow Lane,” says Dr Jamie Gilmour, a Partner at the Practice.

“Our surgery at Hardwicke House is a listed building originally built in the 16th Century and not suitable for modern healthcare provision and we have no additional capacity elsewhere in Sudbury.”

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The funding application was made as NHS England invited GPs across the country to apply to the government’s £1 billion Primary Care Infrastructure Fund, which seeks to improve facilities.

The proposed new medical centre would provide a mixture of consultation, treatment and training spaces as well as a minor operations suite and flexible accommodation for use by other partner agencies. If successful, the surgery would move within the next two years.

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Practice manager David Cripps said: “Over the past 10 years, the practice has requested funding support from the NHS to relocate to new premises, however it has been overlooked on three separate occasions.

“The focus within Sudbury has been on the West Suffolk Hospitals relocation from the St Leonards and Walnut Tree Hospitals to a health centre on the outskirts of the town.

“Our team has grown to 15 GPs in order that levels of access keep pace with the growth in patients registering with the practice, but this cannot continue indefinitely.”

He added: “This is almost a last chance saloon for us. We have been denied several times in the past. It is not a huge amount of money, most of it will be privately funded.

“Property at Belle Vue House has come up for sale, and that is where we would be looking to move to. It would be a purpose built facility.

“We want to remain in the centre of the town, because that is where people want us to be. Especially elderly residents, they don’t want to get two busses to a centre on the outskirts.”

The Practice will find out whether its application has been successful at the end of this month.

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