A TOWN centre surgery could increase its capacity by up to 1,500 patients after it moves to larger buildings as part of the new Kimmerfields development.
The Whalebridge surgery, based out of Swindon Health Centre on Carfax Street, currently deals with around 10,000 patients, and shares space with the Carfax surgery.
Dr Richard Carter, of the Whalebridge surgery, said they have a new GP scheduled to join the team and would be keen to expand their operations when they move into a new walk-in centre.
The news comes after the closure of the Marlborough Road surgery left 2,000 patients looking for a GP.
“We know some surgeries are under pressure and in some cases have already been shut,” said Dr Carter. “At the moment we have a surgery that looks after about 10,000 patients, but with a new doctor joining us and changes in service delivery, we would be hopeful of adding between 1,000 and 1,500 patients.”
After a meeting with Muse, the developers of the new centre, talks are underway about using the building.
“They are rather hopeful that we will have agreed where we want the rooms and some of the finer details by April,” added Dr Carter.
“Everyone will be moved into the building by next December. I have got some reservations about how ambitious they are with their timescale, but Swindon Council have agreed it with the developers.
“There are only a few changes as to how we are going to reconfigure the existing building. It all comes down to cost. If they allow the surgery to get bigger it could be that either our surgery or Carfax could take the new rooms if preferred. “They are looking at going up to three storeys and we currently sit on the first floor. The people that commission the services might ask everyone to stay in the building.
“What they plan to do is have the two surgeries, Whalebridge and Carfax, continue work in the centre for another year. After that some units might leave and others might stay.
“We have said that we are keen to expand. There could even be the possibility of both surgeries working in collaboration.”
A spokesman for Forward Swindon said: “The new Kimmerfields central business district scheme always had the new NHS walk-in facility as part of the plan. This will be built adjacent to the new apartment block and car park, on the south side of Fleming Way, near Whalebridge junction. “This is part of the outline planning permission for the project. “Negotiations are underway regarding the exact specification of the new facility but it will be designed and built in conjunction with NHS guidelines and will be about 25,000 sq ft.
“The new walk-in centre should be completed by the end of 2015 with a view to opening in 2016.”
Marilyn Hughes, managing director of Carfax Health Enterprise, said: “We are looking forward to the opportunity to work out of a fully modernised building. “We have already grown by around 1,000 patients a year, and we anticipate that to continue with the growth in the town. We currently have 38,000 people using our walk in centre and 10,500 registered patients. It would be easier to cope if we had a little more space as we are bursting at the seams. “We are still taking on patients so if people wish to register they will be able to do so.”