News

Primary care complex offering public and private healthcare to 30 000 opens in Somerset

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f130 (Published 08 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f130
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1BMJ

A new health complex providing primary and secondary care services to tens of thousands of patients under one roof has officially opened its doors.

The £10.5m (€12.9m; $16.9m) Frome Medical Centre, developed in a new purpose built complex in the Somerset town, will house 130 health professionals, including more than 30 GPs and a host of consultants—making it one of the biggest integrated primary care buildings in the United Kingdom.

The centre, which has been in development for more than a decade, aims to offer patients a one stop shop for accessing NHS and private health services on their doorstep, rather than travelling to hospital facilities out of town.

The building, located opposite the existing community hospital in Frome, has been funded and developed by partners at the Frome Medical Practice, who have invested £100 000 each to fund the project.

As well as offering routine GP appointments, blood testing, and other primary care services to almost 30 000 patients, the centre will provide NHS outpatient services in areas such as minor surgery and mental healthcare, alongside private services such as a pharmacy, opticians, chiropractic, and plastic surgery.

A private physiotherapist, podiatrist, acupuncturist, and an aesthetic practitioner will also rent space in the 4400 square metre building, as will the nearby Beckington Family Practice, serving an additional 8000 patients.

The centre was initially conceived 12 years ago but has only now come to fruition after the practice secured the funding and planning permission it needed to make the move. It has been designed with a focus on healthy living and the prevention of illness, including an emphasis on healthy eating at the café, a staff gym, and incentives to staff and patients to use alternatives to driving to the new centre.

Tina Merry, senior partner at the Frome Medical Practice, said that the new centre would see consultants and GPs collaborating more for the benefit of the local population.

She said, “It is the integrating agenda, it is developing services closer to home, and it is being more efficient. Secondary care consultants will come in here, and we will be able to work alongside them and work on pathway development to make sure we’re more integrated.”

Mark Vose, fellow partner at the Frome Medical Practice, said that the centre would cut costs by moving more services out of hospital, which he said was being facilitated by GPs taking a more prominent role in commissioning local services.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f130