Please see this information bulletin which outlines the proposed development plans for Fallodon Way Medical Centre.
For additional information read on:
Fallodon Way Medical Centre arrived in here in the 1980s with a building designed for 5000 patients. The popularity of the practice has meant that patient numbers grew from day one, and over time the practice has undertaken ad hoc extensions to the building to provide more consulting rooms and improved patient facilities. Despite this, in offering additional services to our patients, the building has become gradually more crowded, as we have accommodated the associated staff.
Then, a year ago, the practice was notified by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that the Bishopston and Northville practices would be closing, and it was requested that we receive a share of the patients who would no longer have a GP. Whilst Fallodon Way Medical Centre did not wish to undertake a large increase in patients, it was clear that this would become necessary. In a short period of time our list size rose from 9350 to the current 10814. With this, our building -which was already much too small – has become completely full, and it was clear that we could no longer delay an expansion of our premises.
As a result we have begun to plan an expansion of the building. Our priorities at the outset are to improve the service to our patients, ensure we fit well into the built environment around us, and ensure that we can house all the facilities expected of a modern general practice. We have been supported by the CCG and NHS England in this process.
We are currently operating from space that is approximately half the recommended size for a practice with our number of patients. In addition it has a number of spaces that do not meet the exacting modern standards. This presents challenges for both patients and staff.
- The issues can start at the front door. The heavy, manually operated front door is a challenge for some of our more frail patients, as well as those using buggies or wheelchairs.
- The short “queue depth” from the reception desk to the door means that on occasions patients are literally queuing out of the door.
- The main waiting room is cold in winter and can be extremely hot in summer.
- The corridors are too narrow to allow two-way traffic.
- The clinicians’ consulting rooms are completely full at almost all times, meaning that we cannot accommodate additional clinicians.
- The “allied health professionals” such as midwives cannot operate from our site forcing patients to travel further to access these services.
- Some of the consulting rooms are too small to allowmedical procedures to be performed appropriately.
For staff, working conditions are difficult:
- Our prize-winning Care Coordinator works from an “office” we had previously been using as a cupboard.
- The temporary portakabin, bought in to house 6 staff, now has 9 workstations used by 11 staff.
- Staff members are rostered to work when there is a room to work from, rather than at times that meet their other responsibilities.
- We have employed additional clinicians to meet the needs of the new patients who have joined our list, so that the impact on our existing patients was minimised, but we have nowhere to put them.
- There is no dedicated meeting room for the staff.
We would love to address all these issues and the building extension gives us the opportunity to do this.
So what does the practice want to do?
The medical centre is not planning a grand palace, nor are we seeking to expand the practice list further at this time. This is a modest development that will enable us to better serve our existing patients and bring our facilities up to an acceptable standard. This development is not building rooms that will remain empty against future use, but is just enough to meet current requirements. We hope that this will include space to continue our training of junior doctors and pharmacists, and house some of the work being undertaken by the new Primary Care Networks (PCNs) who are alleviating some of the pressures on hospitals by undertaking additional work in the community.
Fallodon Way Medical Centre wants to build a new development along the front of the site alongside the road. Once completed, the clinicians (doctors, nurses, urgent care practitioners, pharmacists, care coordinators) would move into the newly built modern rooms, which will meet current standards for clinical buildings. The admin team would then move into the vacated rooms at the rear of the building so allowing the current portakabin to be removed. To facilitate this development and house staff displaced during the build process, an additional extension would be built on the west side of the building.
The new building would provide 5 extra consulting rooms which could allow additional services to be offered. Two of these consulting rooms will be for the two new GPs recruited this summer to assist with our increased patient numbers. One will be for the GP trainee who currently doesn’t have a room. The Care Coordinators will have a room in which they can speak confidentially to patients. The last room is intended for visiting clinicians such as the Primary Care Network or CCG clinicians. The waiting rooms would be consolidated into one central facility adjacent to the new reception desk, which would incorporate an interview room for confidential conversations. The plan intends to retain 9 on-site parking spaces including 2 spaces designated for our disabled patients, so the situation with parking at the end of the build should be largely unchanged from the current time
We desperately want to be able to provide high quality provision to our patients, and continue to be an asset to the community we serve. An expansion of our building towards the recommended size would alleviate many of the very real pressures that we experience from day to day as the result our current situation. Whilst you will be able to formally comment to Bristol City Council once the planning application has been submitted which will occur in May, we should really like to hear what you think of these plans in the meantime. We are sad and frustrated that we cannot meet face to face with you in the current time, to explain our plans further. Instead, we have below set out some Frequently Asked Questions to address initial concerns.
We are delighted that so many of you responded to our earlier request for comments and questions and thank you for your ideas and support. We can confirm comments relating to, for example, eco credentials, bike racks and planting have been incorporated into the plans. The practice has now submitted its planning application to Bristol City Council and we should like to encourage you to comment in support of the application directly to the planning portal https://www.bristol.gov.uk/planning-and-building-regulations/search-and-track-planning-applications Our planning application number is PP08654166v1DRC .
Dr Katia Chapman, Dr Tom Smith and Dr Karl Stainer (Partners), Mrs Leigh Frost (Building Project Manager), Mrs Vicky Elliott (Practice Manager), on behalf of the whole team at Fallodon Way Medical Centre.
Ground Floor Plan
First Floor Plan
Why doesn’t the practice simply refuse to take any more patients?
Under the NHS contract, each GP practice with an “open” list has to accept any person who lives within its contractual boundary who applies to become a patient. There is a procedure to “close” the list, by application to NHS England (NHSE), but practices cannot do this unless NHSE agrees that they may. Any such closures tend to be temporary and permission challenging to achieve
Why doesn’t the practice move somewhere else?
The practice has spent considerable time researching other options for sites within its boundary. It has looked at other public buildings and even pubs and churches, but cannot find a site on a large enough footprint suitable for conversion. It has not been able to identify any “brown field” site and unfortunately, there are no other NHS facilities within its boundary that it could use.
The existing site is extremely well related to the community we serve. It is well placed to provide services to several developments of sheltered housing nearby, including provision for frail elderly citizens (Fallodon Court, Wildcroft House) and patients with learning disabilities (Thomas More Project), among others.
What about moving non-clinical staff offsite?
Over recent years the practice has consistently been rated amongst the top practices in Bristol by it patients. We attribute this in no small degree to the close knit team that work here. The service we offer is not just provided by the clinicians – the admin staff are also key to supporting both patients and clinical staff. To segregate the team in different locations would introduce time delays into the procedures, make communication and supervision more difficult and could “break” the excellent team culture we have fostered over the years.
What’s wrong with the current building?
See above. Even prior to the closure of the local practices, we were one of the 10 most cramped surgeries in Bristol. It is approximately 53% of the NHS recommended size required to meet the demands of the current list size. It is too small to be able to take on additional work on offer from the NHS, which means that Fallodon Way patients need to travel to other practices to access these services. Our rooms are full most days of the week. We have no dedicated room for the doctors to hold meetings, and despite working from a temporary building, we do not have enough room for the support staff needed for the surgery. Our reception and waiting areas are too small and no longer fit for purpose, and we have had to reallocate a 3 square metre storage room as an office. Additionally, the ad hoc development has meant that the building does not have a logical or functional footprint.
How will the new building look?
The building has been designed with an awareness that it sits in a residential location and consequently we have been very careful to ensure that it fits in with its setting. We hope that the final design complements the area around it.
We have previously received adverse comments about the suitability of the portakabin and the barrel roof section of the building. Under this plan, both these sections of the current facility will go.
Why are you doing this now? Can’t it wait until the Coronavirus has passed?
We are very keen to emphasise that the timetable for a planning application has been laid out for quite some time. This is because our expansion is part of the “Gloucester Road Corridor Project” run by the CCG, to increase capacity in the remaining practices in the area now that Bishopston and Northville practices have closed. We have had to work up our plans in tandem with the other practices, in a combined timetable. It is with genuine regret that this has led to the planning permission process commencing whilst we are all in lockdown – if nothing else it greatly hampers our ability to explain our circumstances to you. But we hope that you can use these FAQs and our email channels to raise any questions and that we can adequately respond to your concerns.
Where will I be able to park?
These new plans allow us to retain 9 parking spaces on site. Parking along Fallodon Way should be no greater than it is at present, as the patients who have transferred from Bishopston Medical Practice have already done so. We are not planning a significant staff expansion besides the 2 new GPs joining us during the summer of 2020.
Are you planning to house a pharmacy on the site?
No. The new building does not include space for a pharmacy
How long is all this going to take?
This is not a short term project. The first step will be to obtain planning permission. We hope to submit a planning application in May. This means we might have approval by say, end of August.
Once we have planning permission we will need to seek builders’ quotations. Once these are in, the planning permission and the construction quotes form part of the input to NHSE to gain approval to proceed with the build. We expect to submit this business case by the end of 2020. This means we will not have NHSE permission to proceed before early Spring 2021.