An official opening event took place on Monday (September 9) of a new two-storey extension at the Botesdale Health Centre.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony formed part of the event, with Dr Tim Cooke, who retired earlier this year after almost three decades as a health care professional in the area, warmly welcoming the completion of the project which he conceived while a GP partner at the centre.
The expansion, which provides two new GP and two new health care assistant consulting rooms, a triage room and a training-meeting room, will enable the practice to better meet the demand for primary care services in the area. The health centre currently has a patient list size in excess of 9,000 and with planned development of around 1000 houses over the next five years it is estimated the patient list will grow to around 12,000.
The increased capacity will allow the practice to explore options in delivering more health services locally, with palliative care and dementia support services seen as priorities in a community with an increasingly ageing population. The new meeting room will enable the centre to forge greater links with local health and patient groups as well as offer extra space to deliver staff training to ensure the continued focus on high-quality care for patients.
Funding for the £552,000 project has been provided by NHS England’s Estates and Technology Transformation Fund, the partners of Botesdale Health Centre, and includes a £98,000 input from the Mid Suffolk District Council Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
The practice would particularly like to thank the Friends of Botesdale Health Centre who have worked tirelessly in fundraising efforts to support equipping and furnishing the extension, as well as NHS England, the councils and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
Kevin Bernard, Practice Manager at the Botesdale Health Centre, said: “With an estimated 30% increase in the number of patients who will be registered at the practice over the next few years, it was important that action was taken to ensure we can better meet the anticipated demand.
“The extra space is much needed and it is certainly pleasing to have reached this stage where we can now look to the future with more confidence.
“I’d like to thank all our patients for their support over the last few years and the wider community for recognising the benefits in having an expanded practice.”
Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “When a new development is built, the first concern of residents is often healthcare. This project proves that growth can pay for new facilities, and that money from developers can and will be invested in the communities affected. Thank you to the CCG for all their work bringing the project to fruition, and I wish the Practice many long years in the newly expanded Botesdale Health Centre.”
A spokesperson for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, said: “The extension at Botesdale Health Centre will make a real difference, offering patients a range of services in an updated, state-of-the-art facility. We are pleased to be able to add funding to an impressive project that will stand the local area in good stead for years to come.”