Outrage as plans for new medical centre in Brownsover pushed back for another year

Members of the action group and supporters with Chairman, Jake Stevenson
Members of the action group and supporters with Chairman, Jake Stevenson

Brownsover patients who were forced to travel into town to see a GP will now have to wait another year before their new medical centre is built.

In April 2015, around 10,000 patients from Brownsover and the north of the town were tranferred to a caretaker surgery in Rugby town centre after their practice staff in Bow Fell were experiencing difficulties. The surgery was closed and patients were told they would be seen at the caretaker site for one year while a new medical centre was built in Brownsover.

NHS England said work on the new centre was expected to be completed by autumn 2016 but now it has announced that the work will not even begin until late 2017. This means patients will continue to have travel two miles for a GP appointment and pay for public transport and/or parking.

Patients battled to be seen at their old building but by new doctors at the time of its closure, but NHS England said it was ‘not a viable option’. But now patients may be seen there after all - meaning they have been uprooted and no progress has been made on the new medical centre.

Jake Stevenson, chairman of the Brownsover Patient Acion Group, said patients were concerned that the new medical centre would never materialise.

“It’s like a third world NHS,” Mr Stevenson said.

“We just feel let down in general by NHS England. Although we accept the reason why they had to close the practice, they have not acted properly since. We have a sub-standard temporary facility – where patients see locums and never the same doctor twice.

“Patients have been promised for the past five years this is happening - spades in the ground is what is needed.

“Patients are totally disenchanted, they are leaving the ‘temporary’ practice in droves to other practices. If this continues, will NHS England say there is sufficient capacity in the town without this expenditure?”

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has written to the Secretary of State for Health about the situation.

He said: “The lack of progress made by NHS England on the provision of a new medical facility in Brownsover is unacceptable. Firm assurances were made by NHS England last year that a new surgery would be open by this autumn but it is clear that this is not going to be the case.

“Residents in Brownsover have been promised the new medical facility that they demand, and deserve, for over ten years. Given the commitments made by NHS England regarding a new surgery last year and the lack of progress on the new facility I have written to the Secretary of State for Health on an urgent basis asking him to look into this situation. I am also seeking urgent meetings with Ministers within the Department of Health to help speed up the delivery of the new surgery and I will continue to work with local residents, and the Brownsover Patients Action Group, and do all that I can to ensure work on the new facility begins as soon as possible.”

David Williams, Locality Director for NHS England (West Midlands) said: “Every effort is being made to progress this scheme, but it is necessary to look at all options to ensure we have a development suitable for the delivery of primary care into the future and which meets the increase in patient numbers in the area, so that everyone will continue to receive high-quality care. As a result, work is now likely to begin in 2017.

“We are currently focusing on finalising our business case, with NHS Property Services offering expertise if and when needed. Once this has been done, NHS Property Services will be in a position to decide how the Brownsover scheme will be delivered.

“We continue to work with the Brownsover Patient Action Group (BPAG) and value their input. We will keep BPAG updated on the discussions taking place with regard to the additional proposed temporary facility in Brownsover.”