NEW primary care resource centres, or ‘super-surgeries’ could be built in Newport, Tredegar and Ebbw Vale by the end of the decade.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has included the schemes – at an estimated total cost of £14million – in a list of projects for the next five years that might attract Welsh Government funding.
Though there is no guarantee of such funding becoming available, if the health board’s prospective timetable were met, the centres could be open by 2019.
Primary care resource centres have been dubbed ‘super-surgeries’ as they are often planned to accommodate more than one GP practice, serving more than 10,000 patients in total, and providing modern facilities to replace outdated surgery and branch surgery premises.
Many also have the capacity also to host clinics that might otherwise have to be provided in a hospital setting.
Among the services the centres can also provide are podiatry, community dental services, diabetic retinopathy screening, mental health counselling, addressing substance misuse, young people’s sexual health clinics, and midwifery-led ante-natal clinics.
Primary care resource centre plans have been drawn up for areas across Gwent over the last 10 years or more, but many have been delayed or shelved due to the slashing of NHS budgets in the wake of the economic downturn and recession.
One which has been delayed is a centre earmarked for Newport East, at a site to be confirmed in the Ringland area. This has long been a priority primary care project for Gwent health bosses, but finding the necessary funding has proved an issue.
Now it is hoped to develop the centre in the next four years, at an estimated cost of £5m.
Schemes for Tredegar (£5m) and Ebbw Vale (£4m) are also included on the list, which forms part of the health board’s medium-term plan.
Sites must be identified and funding secured – but their inclusion on the list is an indication that they are considered a priority.
The health board is currently awaiting Welsh Government approval for a primary care resource centre in Brynmawr, to house two GP practices serving a total of 14,000 patients, and also providing the aforementioned range of services.