Ipswich: New doctor’s surgery to replace West Villa homeless unit
PUBLISHED: 11:18 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:19 18 March 2014
Ipswich is to get a new health centre for 25,000 patients on the site of the town’s current homeless families’ unit.
And a new larger unit for those who are homeless is set to open on the other side of the town.
West Villa in east Ipswich has been the town’s main homeless families unit for several decades. Most of those living there have been put up in portable buildings in the grounds of the large Victorian building.
However now the borough has converted former sheltered flats off Cambridge Drive into a new homeless families’ unit and the West Villa site is to be redeveloped.
It is to become a new health centre serving people who currently use the Lattice Barn and Woodbridge Road surgeries which are based in buildings that are not large enough for modern health needs.
The Council is on the point of concluding detailed negotiations with development company Apollo that will enable it to buy the West Villa site and develop it for the NHS as a new health centre/surgery.
John Mowles, Housing portfolio-holder, said: “The facilities at West Villa are no longer properly fit for temporary accommodation.
“We are supporting some very vulnerable people and we will be able to provide a better service at the new premises.”
West Villa staff have toured the proposed new accommodation and are now preparing plans for moving this much needed service to the new site. It is anticipated that this will happen in June.
The two GP practices have long been looking for a new site that can enable them to combine and provide state-of the-art facilities.
Council leader David Ellesmere said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to put together a deal that will enable the doctors to build a new surgery for more than 25,000 people in Ipswich.
“I know from many discussions over recent years it’s clear just how much the doctors and their patients need to move to more modern facilities and therefore need to relocate from their existing premises, which are essentially just converted houses.
“It is good news that our planned deal will ensure that the West Villa site will continue to serve the community for decades to come.”
Dr Jonathan Knight, lead GP for the two practices for this project said: “We are excited about the prospect of being able to serve our patients from better accommodation.
“Both Woodbridge Road Medical Centre and Lattice Barn Surgery have a long tradition for providing excellent General Practice care for our patients; now we will be able to do so from modern, 21st century premises.”
Andrew Reed, Area Director NHS England East Anglia, said: “We are pleased to support this as a priority development and we are confident that this important investment will ensure high quality primary care services can be provided for the future”.
Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are pleased that plans for a new building to house Lattice Barn and Woodbridge Road GP surgeries are progressing.
“Patients deserve access to the best possible healthcare facilities and providing these GP services in a modern, state-of-the-art building will serve patients well for many years to come.”