Published: 12:07, 12 March 2018
Plans have been submitted for a £6.5 million extension to Cliftonville's Bethesda medical centre to create a state-of-the-art health centre for Margate.
Planning permission is being applied for from Thanet District Council and, if approved, it is hoped the new centre will open in 2020.
The proposal is to create a new one stop shop for people in the town which can cater for up to 32,000 patients, allowing them to get all the medical and nursing services they expect in much more modern and accessible space.
If approved, the centre will include specialist clinics for physiotherapy, audiology, ophthalmology, ultrasound and minor surgery, for patients from Margate and beyond -services are currently only available in hospital.
The plan also includes a gym for physio, an outside gym area, a bigger pharmacy, allotment space, a cafe and a community kitchen - open evenings and weekends.
Space for teams of healthcare professionals to meet and work together and co-ordinate treatment for patients with complicated health needs is also planned.
The new facility would also provide education and train space for medical staff, which could be used by patient groups too.
Oena Windibank, chief officer for local care for NHS Thanet CCG, said: "Over recent years, local people have repeatedly told the CCG that they want us to provide a one-stop shop where they can get the vast majority of the health and social care servicesthey need in one place.
"They have asked for a more joined-up approach for people with more complicated health needs, and more focus on preventing ill-health so people stay well.
"I am delighted that this new development at Bethesda will deliver what local people have asked for and more.
"We hope to create a similar one stop shop for health and care at Westwood Cross, and to provide more services in Ramsgate too."
Dr Tony Martin, clinical chair of NHS Thanet CCG and senior partner at Bethesda medical practice, said: "I am delighted that this planning application has gone in from the CCG and Bethesda and I hope it will win favour with the council.
"Bringing staff from various organisations together under one rood has huge benefits for patients, particularly people with more complicated health and care needs.
"It will also make Margate a real draw for medical professionals and care staff, who very much want to work together in the innovative ways we are introducing.
"The centre aims to give people more chances to take care of their own health, including the outdoor gym, allotment and community kitchen.
"If approved, I believe our new centre will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of people of all ages in Margate, and of future generations."
Northdown surgery is proposing to relocate to Bethesda so its patients can benefit from everything the new building offers.
Dr Malgorzata Wolny, from Northdown surgery, said: "If approved, this would mean our patients would have access to the expanded health centre being planned on the Bethesda site, with all the benefits that offers."
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