The practice manager of an Eastergate surgery has said it is ‘bursting at the seams’ and needs new facilities to help cater for new housing in the area.
Judith Walker, who runs the Croft Practice in Barnham Road, said the practice was looking at how to maximise its space caring for 11,500 patients, having supported just 6,000 when it was built in 1992.
One such option, presented in a current planning application, is for a recreational space near the medical centre for use by members of the community as a sensory garden, fitness area, a kitchen garden or a dementia-friendly meadow.
Judith said the practice was also exploring options for becoming a hub for different services but the open space was in line with social prescribing, where people are treated more holistically and not just on a medical route.
She said: “With the area expanding very rapidly, we’ve been trying for the last ten years or so to get improved facilties for the patients’ point of view of healthcare, but with the ongoing focus from the NHS plan on social prescribing and so forth, we’re looking at other opportunities.”
Ideas for the space suggest the sensory garden could help those with learning disabilities, a fitness trail could encourage exercise and the kitchen garden could foster healthy eating, while a meadow would give a restful space for people with dementia.
The area is currently just a patch of scrubland, accessed via the medical centre, but if given permission it would ideally be used for a combination of those uses.
Judith said the practice could have as many as 15,000 patients within the next four to five years if plans for housing in the area went ahead and she hoped the outdoor area plans would be approved.
She said: “We’re trying to make the surgery meet the requirements of the very large population that’s around it.
“This was built in 1992 and we’re already bursting at the seams and with the building that’s gone on and the future building in the area, we’re desperate to be in a larger building with better facilties for patients and to encourage health professionals to come and work with us as well.”
See planning application EG/4/19/PL.