Top class health centre set for town

Negotiations are taking place to provide Felixstowe with a 21st century one-stop health centre to replace one of the “poorest quality” surgery buildings in Suffolk.

FELIXSTOWE: Negotiations are taking place to provide Felixstowe with a 21st century one-stop health centre to replace one of the “poorest quality” surgery buildings in Suffolk.

The plan would also provide a development site for new shops to extend the resort's shopping centre.

East of England Co-operative Society has offered to buy land in St Andrews Road - a site earmarked for shops with flats above - and build the new health centre in exchange for the Central Surgery's current site in Hamilton Road, which would be cleared and redeveloped.

Central Surgery, which cares for 16,000 patients, has been looking for a new site for at least five years to replace its inadequate building, which was the largest and most modern in the county when opened in 1966 but is now “cold, decaying and leaking”.

It had been hoped to move into the old Co-op department store until the business was sold to VERGO this summer.

Martin Royal, director of business development at NHS Suffolk, said the project would improve “one of our poorest quality surgery premises” and allow the surgery to expand and meet its aim to become a training practice.

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The new three-storey centre would include purpose-built consulting rooms, a minor surgery room, plus space for community services and possibly clinics such as NHS dentistry and podiatry.

“The Central Surgery has a large efficient team struggling to cope in worn out premises that should be at least three times larger than the present size,” said Dr Stephen Feltwell.

“In the current building it is impossible to achieve modern standards of clinical care, access, responsiveness or infection control.

“Felixstowe has an ageing population with increasing needs.

“The practice needs to become a training facility to help future recruitment and retention of younger GP principals.”

Does Felixstowe need a health centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk