1,800 patient boost at surgery

Work to create a £1million integrated surgery in Herstmonceux is on time and on budget.

Herstmonceux Integrative Health Centre will be big enough to care for around 5,000 patients in the area - an increase of 1,800 on the current set up - due to open in October 2013.

New doctors surgesry, Herstmonceux'DrJohn Simmons and  Anita Taylor

New doctors surgesry, Herstmonceux'DrJohn Simmons and Anita Taylor

The sustainable, eco-friendly practice will be 500 square metres and boast five consulting rooms and a separate minor surgery suite.

The village’s current surgery is the smallest in the county at 53 square metres, said Dr John Simmons, who leads the current surgery.

He said they were currently unable to cope with demand for doctor and nurse appointments, despite the centre renting rooms at Windmill Hill Surgery for two mornings a week.

The new centre will offer conventional medical approaches along with integrating evidence-based complementary and alternative approaches to support individual health needs and goals, including established National Health Service acupuncture.

Dr Simmons said: “It’s taken a long time to get here. It’s been a real struggle, however, we are six months in and progressing really well. We are on time and on budget.

“It’s a very different building to any standard general practice.

“I’ve been involved in developments and so was very conscious of the drab buildings normally constructed for health care facilities.

“We are very keen to really create a building which is fantastic to work in but, more importantly, a much better environment for patients to come in to.

“It will enhance patient care by being able to provide a lot of services that patients want close to home so we can expand the range of services on offer and provide for all patients having to go to hospital.

The former builder added: “A building should be very sustainable and beautiful to look at and there’s no reason why we cannot do that within the financial constraints these buildings have to be built in.

“It will cost the same as all the other new build surgeries that have gone elsewhere.

“But I’ve chosen to oversee the project rather than having a third party developer who would build it in the cheapest way to maximise their return.”

Work on the new centre began last September after village support and fundraising.

Plans for the centre go back as far as 2009 when proposals to create the environmentally friendly GP practice were first muted.

The first floor of the building will be subterranean and have a grass roof.