A NEW super health centre will not force neighbouring doctors' surgeries to close, Swindon Council has been told.

Swindon Primary Care Trust (PCT) outlined its vision for a new surgery in the town centre to be open seven days a week and on bank holidays from next spring.

However, one of the town's most respected doctors remains cynical about the reassurances.

The GP-led health centre will remain open from 8am to 8pm every day and act as a walk-in clinic for the town and beyond.

And although only people living within the SN1 and SN2 area will be able to permanently register at the surgery, which will replace the existing Carfax Street health centre, everyone will be able to book an appointment in advance.The plans were revealed during a Swindon Council Overview and Scrutiny meeting at the Civic Offices on Wednesday.

Caroline Fowles, chief executive of Swindon PCT, was keen to point out that the centre will not replace other GP practices or be a polyclinic - a super surgery offering health and other care services.

She said: "There are no plans whatsoever to open a polyclinic in Swindon. And there is no threat of the closure of GP surgeries in the town. This is not about closing GP practices.

"What this proposal will do is give us that extra capacity where we want it, as well as offering patients a highly convenient service.

"Swindon's population is growing and the PCT has been looking at ways of increasing the availability of primary care services, especially in central Swindon.

"In particular, we expect the longer opening hours to appeal to commuters, other working people, and parents with children, who can sometimes struggle to get to see a GP when they want to."

The PCT is expecting 3,000 people to join the surgery in the first year and 6,500 over the next four years.

But Dr Peter Swinyard, of the Phoenix Surgery in Toothill, said that he had heard contradictory messages at a bidder information day.

He says a presentation for bidders to run the new practice expected them to come up with ideas to attract patients from other practices.

"If you have a shiny new surgery open every day of the year people who don't understand the merits of continuity of care will go there and every practice in Swindon could lose some patients" he said.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the new health centre should visit www.swindonpct.nhs.uk or call 01793 708700.