Health village: £18m dream

The existing surgeries (top row) could move into a new village on the site of Crown Buildings
The existing surgeries (top row) could move into a new village on the site of Crown Buildings

An £18m health village is being proposed for Bridlington – with all five GP surgeries in the town to move to a new building, alongside community services.

The complex would also include the voluntary sector to “integrate health and social care services and improve healthcare facilities in Bridlington”.

Dr Mike Hardman

Dr Mike Hardman

It is hoped that the investment would make the resort more attractive to staff and help with recruitment problems.

Dr Mike Hardman, from Practice Two at Bridlington Medical Centre, said: “This project was intended to co-locate health, social and voluntary care under one roof. All the GP practices, district nursing, children services, district nursing, children’s services, mental health, addiction services, social services, volunteer groups and education would be co-located in a bespoke, state-of-the-art building which, if other projects were to be believed, would improve the happiness of the staff and provide a beacon to attract new staff to the town.

“We are perilously short of GPs, nurses and social workers in particular and all parties felt that such a scheme would increase the chance of colleagues relocating to Bridlington.”

The scheme is listed on the NHS website as a potential new build, but months of hard work to get it off the ground have been dogged by obstacles and false starts.

“We are perilously short of GPs, nurses and social workers in particular and all parties felt that such a scheme would increase the chance of colleagues relocating to Bridlington.”

Dr Mike Hardman

Crown Buildings in Quay Road, which used to be home to Bridlington’s driving test centre and will be freed up when the JobCentre moves into the town hall, has been earmarked as the perfect location for the health village.

But there are fears that if the project doesn’t get the green light soon, the area’s staffing crisis will get worse.

“We now have the very real possibility of more staff leaving and the whole service being threatened with failure,” said Dr Hardman.

“We cannot predict the impact of this loss of health and social care provision on the people of the town.

“Bridlington is already branded a ‘ghost town’ by the medical press due to its shortage of staff.”

He said staff from the three practices at the medical centre in Station Avenue, plus Manor House and Field House, had spent many hours ‘resolving differing points of view and coming up with a positive and coherent plan’.

But money from the NHS’s Estates and Technology Transformation Fund needed to be confirmed as soon as possible.

Dr Hardman added: “Our project would cost £18m – money which the town would benefit from being spent, leaving aside the impact of the building on the working lives of health and social care staff, and the improvements in care for our patients.

“East Riding of Yorkshire Council have been keen supporters of the scheme, fitting in as it does with its wider regeneration plans for Bridlington.

“Local councillors have taken an interest in the project from its initiation.

“Sadly, we have not had the same level of interest or support from local MPs or those in government.”

A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The current situation is that the project is still going through a process with NHS England to agree a full business case.

“Whilst I don’t have any final figures on what funding will be required, it will likely be a substantial amount and as such needs to go through a very robust process to develop the full business case.

“The funding will be through the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund which has been made available as part of the NHS England General Practice Forward View commitment for more modernised buildings and better use of technology to help improve general practices services for patients.

“Unfortunately due to the stage we are at, I don’t have an update for you on timescales for this development, or an update on what the full cost will be for this.”