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GP surgeries are united in backing medical centre plan
KNUTSFORD’S three doctors surgeries have confirmed they are united behind plans to build a new medical centre in the town.
Earlier this year a proposal was put forward to create a new ‘super surgery’ on the existing site of Knutsford Community Hospital on Bexton Road.
A plan for the site was drawn up by a firm of consultants, but the site is currently home to the hospital and the closed Tatton Ward.
This week all three GP practices in the town have confirmed to the Guardian they are behind a new ‘multi-practice, multidiscipline centre’ as they recognise that they could employ more of their skills if there were the improved facilities in Knutsford.
The GPs added that there have been delays in implementing these ideas caused by the ‘changing political and economic climate’, and final plans have yet to be drawn up.
Dr Paddy Kearns, from the Manchester Road Surgery, told the Guardian: “All three practices are facing an increase in workload with elderly patients – and Knutsford has an ageing population.
“If these patients have to go to hospital this causes money to be spent which could be used by the NHS Commissioners (who are now doctors) for local services.
“In any case, in general, patients do not want to go to hospital. The current buildings used for GPs surgeries are not future-proofed, and although adequate at present will be less so in the future.
“For example tighter regulations now mean that rooms once used for minor surgery must be dedicated to that purpose, with no other use, to avoid cross-infections.
“Most surgeries are cramped for back office staff to work in, and they are often on multiple floors, which is not good for any patient with a disability.”
Dr Kearns added the idea of the medical centre was to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for the town’s residents.
He said: “The main reason for change is that we as GPs want a different way of working – closer collaboration with colleagues in hospital, community services and social services – all working together to avoid duplication and prevent any gaps in the service,” he said.
“This should provide more of a one-stop shop for patients so they don’t go to see a doctor who then sends them somewhere else for further checks.
“At present a visit to a GP will, in 10 to 20 per cent of cases, involve a further visit to another centre for blood or other tests.
“In most cases patients will also need to go to a pharmacy, and the aim therefore is to provide as many tests and treatments as well as advice in one visit.
“There may also be the possibility of patients having pre-tests before seeing the doctor so that all the information is at hand in consultation.
“We want as far as possible to avoid having to refer patients to other centres, as that takes more patient time and extra journeys.
“We want to keep as much as possible within Knutsford.”
A further update on the medical centre from Dr Kearns will be in next week’s Guardian.