Doctors urge support for a new surgery in Byfield

The proposed medical centre
The proposed medical centre

A senior doctor insists plans for a new surgery in Byfield are much-needed and should be approved.

Byfield Medical Practice hopes to develop the 10.5-acre site, adjacent to the existing medical centre off Church Street, which would also see 90 homes built.

Senior partner Doctor Alan Bone, who is set to retire at the end of the year, said: “The issue is that this place was built in 1982 for 4,500 patients and now there are 8,000.

“We just can’t do what we want to for our patients here because of the lack of room.

“The problem for general practices is there are not enough GPs and they can pick and choose to do what they want, when they want.

“They’re not interested in working here. They take one look at this place and they say ‘no thanks’.”

The centre has become so overcrowded that each GP has between 1,500 and 1,800 patients each.

Another problem for the project was a lack of funding from the NHS.

So the landowner agreed to support the medical centre plan on the basis of the house building alongside it, which hinges on Daventry District Council approving planning permission.

If planning permission is not granted, the landowner will not gift his property for the development which could call the practice’s future into question.

Byfield Medical Centre patient participation group chairman John Grindlay said: “My wife is in a wheelchair so has difficulty getting around.

“The bus services are under threat so we would have to go to Banbury or Daventry, both nine miles away.”

Byfield Parish Council objected to the application on several grounds including concerns over flooding, traffic impact and the site’s location outside village confines.

Practice manager Tracey Rymer said: “Our doctors have decided that we will now have to apply to close our lists to new patients, as we are beyond saturation point.

“Moreover, due to cramped working conditions, we are unlikely to be able to recruit suitable new staff.”

To view the application search for DA/2017/0826 at www.daventrydc.gov.uk.