Patients are being asked for their views on proposals to relocate Emsworth Surgery to a new site.
GP partners at the practice would like to move from their current cramped, town centre building to having a purpose-built facility fit for the 21st century 1.2 miles away at Redlands Grange in north Emsworth.
The move has not yet been fully decided and, if progressed, would require a number of other consents, including the agreement of NHS South East Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and planning permission.
Redlands Grange is now the preferred option for the GP partners and would end their interest in moving into the vacant Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital.
Dr Abu Chinwala, a GP Partner at Emsworth Surgery, said: “We are committed to continually forward planning to try to further improve services for our 13,000 patients and to build for a long-term sustainable future at a time of great uncertainty for many GP practices nationwide.
“We have spent many years exploring the potential of moving to the vacant hospital site. But we now firmly believe that the best interests of the vast majority of our patients would be served by moving to Redlands Grange in north Emsworth, where we can invest in a new purpose-built site.
“A new-build would allow us to plan in every facility that patients would expect to see in a modern GP practice, rather than having to work within the constraints of an existing building which would require extensive renovation.
“A new site offers huge potential for us to develop the services which can and will better meet the demands and expectations that our patients rightfully demand and expect.
“We understand that moving away from the town centre would impact adversely on some patients who would have to travel further to reach us and we regret that - although we would obviously be moving closer to other patients.
“Approximately 8,500 of our current 13,000 patients live north of the railway line or as far to the west as Havant or as far to the east as Hambrook and are not within walking distance of the existing Emsworth Surgery. We also have many patients living beyond our current practice boundary as far north as Compton and Stoughton.
“We must take into consideration the needs of not just existing patients but future patients too – and plan ahead so that we can continue to serve our community in the long-term, not just the short-term.
“We acknowledge that public transport might be difficult for some and we will be happy to talk to the council and local bus company about the proposal as it develops and how they can support with additional services. We will also make sure that our reception staff are aware of the different transport options available, including those provided by the voluntary sector, so that they can advise patients.
“We understand that there are concerns regarding a reduced footfall if we leave the centre of the town but we do need to carefully consider the needs of our patients and how we develop the surgery in the future to meet these needs.
“We are committed to seeking the views of our patients, particularly with regard to what aspects of the existing building and services they most want retained and what else they would like to see in a new surgery, wherever that might be.”
An 18-question survey is now live on the practice’s website www.emsworthsurgery.co.uk with hard copies available at both the Emsworth and the Westbourne surgeries. Dr Chinwala urged patients to make their views known.