Two Altrincham-based GP practices with more than 24,000 patients will be relocating to the new Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre this autumn after an agreement was reached with Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group.
St Johns Medical Centre and Barrington Medical Centre, both currently based in Altrincham, will be moving into the first floor of the controversial £24million town centre facility – see our exclusive first look inside the centre here.
Both were due to be one of the six original tenants at the 88,000 sq ft centre but withdrew when the CCG discovered a funding gap of £1.9m and went back on an agreement to let the practices move in on a cost-neutral basis.
However, it’s understood that Trafford CCG has now agreed to let the practices move in on a cost-neutral basis, ending a stalemate that has seen the centre lie dormant for nine months at an ongoing cost to the CCG of £51,000 per week.
The intervening period saw the publication of a damning report, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, that criticised the “completely inappropriate balance of risk and reward” and a trail of mistakes dating back to September 2014, when the idea for the centre was first conceived.
There will be considerable relief within the NHS, Trafford CCG and Trafford Council that a breakthrough has at last been made – and Martyn Pritchard, Accountable Officer at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group, said that more healthcare services could “soon” follow”.
He said: “The decisions of the past surrounding the Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre have been well documented, but going forward our priority is to provide residents with high quality healthcare services from the centre that meet their needs.
“That’s why I am delighted that thousands of patients will now be able to benefit from this purpose built state-of-the-art healthcare facility. We also hope to be in a position soon to announce that more healthcare services will be moving into the building.”
The new centre includes free secure onsite parking, enhanced disability access, additional clinical rooms, a large reception area and enhanced technology.
Patient groups, local charities and the voluntary sector will also be able to benefit from the additional space within the GP practices.
It’s already been announced that the top floor of the centre will be converted into office space at a cost of £1.5m.
Dr Marik Sangha (pictured left in picture), GP Partner at St Johns Medical Centre, said: “This is an exciting new chapter: we can continue to provide first-class care for our patients, provide improved parking and treatment facilities and enable the practice to expand into areas such as clinical research and training. St Johns was founded 50 years ago and has now outgrown the original site. Larger premises with modern facilities for staff and patients are vital as the practice looks to the future.”
Dr Nick Macdonald GP, Partner at Barrington Medical Centre, added: “We are excited to move into this new purpose built modern building where we can continue to deliver holistic family medicine with continuity of care. This new state-of-the-art environment will be beneficial for patients and staff as we develop our services in line with modern primary care.”