Public left in the dark as work begins at Brook Way site
Work has finally begun on the long-awaited expansion of Bradley Stoke Surgery but patients and local residents continue to be kept in the dark about developments at the Brook Way site.
Construction firm ISG Pearce has installed a number of portacabins in the surgery’s car park and a large part of the site plus some public land on Brook Way has been boarded off. This has resulted in the number of spaces on the surgery side of the Brook Way car park being reduced from 20 to 9.
The notoriously secretive Bradley Stoke Surgery gave no warning that the work was due to start and one week later there are still no details about the redevelopment on the practice’s website. The Journal has also been unable to find any related information on the websites of Bradley Stoke Town Council, South Gloucestershire Council or NHS South Gloucestershire.
The Journal understands that the surgery was asked almost a year ago to give a presentation on its redevopment plans to the Bradley Stoke Safer and Stronger Community Group. As yet, no such presentation has taken place, with the surgery reportedly saying they “didn’t feel able to come yet” in July 2009.
The scheme hit the local headlines in December 2009 when NHS South Gloucestershire (NHSSG) was forced to admit that redevelopment of the surgery had been delayed due to the credit crunch. That revelation came after local resident Sachin Singhal had questioned why over 200 pregnant women from Bradley Stoke were having to travel to Filton or Patchway for treatment and advice.
Midwife services at the surgery were withdrawn in February 2009 when portacabins were removed from the rear of the premises but the anticipated redevelopment of the site then failed to materialise. NHSSG later admitted that: “with hindsight, the service was moved earlier than needed”.
The Journal has heard from an unofficial source that the redevelopment of the Brook Way surgery is likely to take nine months.
Elsewhere, there is no visible progress on the expansion of two other GP practices which NHSSG promised would be enhanced to serve the needs of Bradley Stoke residents.
Expansion of Stoke Gifford Medical Centre is on hold because its funding is tied to the proposed new housing development at Harry Stoke, which has been delayed “for the foreseeable future”.
Planning permission for an expansion of The Stokes Medical Centre on Braydon Avenue was approved in May 2009 but work at that site is also yet to start.
A September 2007 press release by NHSSG stated that: “All [three] of the practice developments should be completed by the end of 2008/9”. To which Chief Executive Penny Harris added:
“We have given formal public commitments to these developments and have set aside the funding for the schemes to commence.”
Despite the NHS plans for expansion of existing practices, a number of residents and Councillors have continued to call for a second medical centre to be constructed in Bradley Stoke. A parcel of land at Savages Wood Road (opposite the Tesco filling station) was originally earmarked for such a use but the site remains vacant and could now be sold off for housing or used as the location of a new “youth hub”.
The matter of a new medical centre was raised again at the January meeting of the Bradley Stoke Safer and Stronger Community Group and Sarah Booker of South Gloucestershire Local Involvement Network (LINk), an independent patient-led health watchdog, has been actioned to report back to the group at a later date.
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