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New GP practices on the way

Date: 26/03/2008           Category: Medway PCT

Three new GPs' surgeries and a walk-in health centre are set to give local people better access to good health after the Medway Primary Care Trust gave the green light to a £4m investment. The decision means new doctors' surgeries in Luton, Wayfield and Chatham Town Centre plus a GP-led health centre in Canterbury Street, Gillingham that will also operate regular satellite clinics at Hoo, Parkwood, Twydall and Hempstead. The proposals, which take advantage of a national Department of Health initiative designed to improve access to primary care services, target those areas of Medway where people currently have problems getting on to a doctor's list or problems changing doctors once registered. The initiative is likely to mean at least a dozen new doctors in total plus nurses and other health professionals. "This really will bring 21st century care closer to those people who need it," said Marion Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of Medway PCT. "We have looked carefully at the areas where surgeries are currently over-subscribed and have put in place ambitious but realistic plans to tackle that problem." The services are due to be up and running by the end of March 2009, although not at that stage in permanent premises. Funding of £1.1 million per practice per year has been agreed, along with an additional £800,000 to meet the costs of the health centre, which will be open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Medway's PCT's Board approved the plans, along with a detailed timescale, on Wednesday (19) after hearing that the new facilities would achieve benefits including: *Smaller patient lists *More choice *Longer and more convenient opening times *Better quality services As well as housing new doctors, the surgeries will provide other primary care services, while the 12-hour walk-in service is expected to provide quicker and easier access to treatment.