Health leaders have welcomed news that the GP-led Health Centre for Devizes can move to its next phase, after a commitment of £7million to funding.
The project, led by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), aims to deliver significant benefits to patient care by creating a modern and sustainable facility for the people of Devizes and the surrounding area.
NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which owns the site of the proposed new development at Marshall Road, has this week confirmed funding the construction phase of the project subject to conditions including the approval of the business cases by Wiltshire CCG and NHS England.
The news comes as outline planning permission for the development from Wiltshire Council is expected later this month. However, the funding commitment marks a considerable move in respect to the scheme’s delivery. Discussions regarding the proposal have been on-going between Wiltshire CCG, NHS England and NHS Property Services to secure a solution to the complex ownership, planning, leasing and funding arrangements for the last three years.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire CCG and lead GP for the project said:
“It’s really exciting to see that the Devizes Health Centre project is taking a significant step forward, and I’m delighted on behalf of the five Devizes GP practices and the CCG. The commitment from NHS Property Services means it’s all systems “go” to work towards the implementation of this important, long awaited scheme that will provide modern, fit for purpose premises for the delivery of healthcare for the people of the Devizes community area. There’s still a lot of work to do, and we look forward to the outcome of the Outline Planning Application, but we’re extremely confident now that we’re well on the way to achieving what we set out to do on behalf of our patients”.
Claire Perry MP who has campaigned for this centre since her election in 2010, and has been closely involved in the project group, helping make the case for this funding with Health Ministers, said:
“We have been working hard for years to get our Centre built and I am so pleased that the NHS have accepted the case we have been making for this investment. The brilliant work by Dr Sandford-Hill, the Devizes GP Group and
the leadership of the CCG have paid off. Securing this much needed facility and restoring services at Savernake hospital have been my number one priority since I was elected as the MP for the Devizes Constituency and I am really delighted we are close to delivering on both of these aims.”
The next step in the project is for the CCG to conclude the outline business case, including a commitment to fund the future costs of running the health centre.
If the outline business case is approved, work on developing the detailed design of the scheme can begin to inform the full business case, which would then need to be approved by the CCG and NHS England.
Andrew Strange, Senior Strategy Manager at NHS Property Services, said:
“This is an important stage of the project. There is still a long way to go and we will continue to work closely with the CCG and future occupiers to develop the scheme”.
The health centre development is part of a wider scheme that involves the release of land at Marshall Road for housing, and, in due course, the out dated community hospital in the town.