Published: 10:51, 11 June 2019
| Updated: 10:52, 11 June 2019
Health bosses are seeking funding to expand a GP surgery - which they expect to be flooded with hundreds of new patients.
Kitewood Estates, the company behind plans to build 180 homes in Beltinge, has been asked to pay £136,500 towards an extension at the Beltinge and Reculver Surgery.
The work will create a further 200 sq metres of space for up to 12 more rooms.
In a letter to Canterbury City Council, Zoe Holmes, writing on behalf of Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This proposal will generate approximately 420 new patient registrations.
“This development is expected to impact directly on the Beltinge and Reculver Surgery, which is less than one mile from the proposed development. There is currently limited capacity within existing general practice premises to accommodate growth in this area.
“The need from this development, along with other new developments, will therefore need to be met through the creation of additional capacity in general practice premises.”
The CCG also says that parts of the first floor of the surgery in Reculver Road will be converted into rooms for patients to be seen in and admin space.
However, Veronica Lewis, a leading member of the Beltinge Village Action Group, fears the plans may not go far enough.
She believes the CCG should also ask Taylor Wimpey, the developer hoping to build 900 homes in Hillborough, for contributions as many of its residents could register with the surgery.
“The CCG just seems to want money from Kitewood and we don’t understand why,” Ms Lewis added.
“Everybody here is worried about the future of GP surgeries in the area because we’re all older people and tend to be more in need of it.
"We’ve been left with Park Surgery, Herne and Broomfield, Beltinge and Reculver and St Anne’s – and it’s extremely difficult to get an appointment with a GP. The situation’s getting worse.”
The number of GPs per 100,000 people across the UK has fallen from almost 65 in 2014 to 60 last year, the largest drop since the 1960s.
A spokesman for the CCG says the estimated cost of extending Beltinge and Reculver Surgery is £850,000.
He added: "We are working with the property landlords on the proposals to extend the building and have applied to NHS England for funding to support the expansion.
“General practice premises plans are kept under regular review.
"With any proposed development, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG will look at the likely increase in patient numbers and the impact on local GP practices and, at the appropriate point in the planning process, request development contributions.”
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More by this authorJack Dyson