Wickham surgery to take Welborne’s first residents – but fears raised that it won’t be able to cope

NHS plans for no GP surgery at the Welborne development will mean Wickham surgery will have to cope with the first 1,000 residents.

Saturday, 6th April 2019, 6:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th April 2019, 6:12 pm
An artist's impression of what Welborne could look like

The Fareham Accommodation Strategy, created by Fareham and Gosport CCG, outlines healthcare plans as the population of Fareham increases over the next 25 years. The strategy says that the first 1,600 residents of Welborne will be assigned to the Wickham GP surgery. 

Fareham Borough Council Leader Sean Woodward said that it would be ‘unacceptable’ for GP services to be provided outside of Welborne long term. 

He said: 'The plan makes it very clear there will be health care provisions in Welborne. 

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'Wickham is not in Fareham. It is in Winchester. If I lived in Winchester, I would be very concerned about people from another area travelling to the surgery.

'It's not in accordance with the plan.'

The NHS strategy states it is ‘important not to raise public perceptions that a GP practise will be on site from the outset’, with concerns that any primary care provisions must not "destabilise" other practises in the area. 

But Fareham residents have expressed fear that the Wickham surgery may come under increased pressure to accommodate the extra patients. 

Brenda Clapperton, Secretary of the Fareham Society, said: 'It's going to put a lot of pressure on Wickham Surgery.

'One of the major things people are worried about is healthcare provision. 

Everyone is talking about it - there is a fear not enough medical provision is being planned.' 

The strategy outlines how GP surgeries require a patient list of more than 8,000 to provide a sustainable service. 

Cllr Woodward said: 'No one is expecting to see a GP or surgery when there a dozen residents living in Welborne. 

'I think the problem we have is a very simple one: GPs run as a private business. So the issue is around catchment areas.

'If you're running a private business, you would want to run your business on your terms. 

The business model is dictating the healthcare model.'

The managing director of NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG, Sarah Tiller, said the Wickham practice had been ‘designed specifically’ to accommodate an increase in the area's population. 

She said: 'The practice is well aware of the plans to build homes locally, and is planning how it can respond. 

'The CCG is fully supportive of these efforts, and is also more generally to help practises across the area respond to the rising demands they face.'

Wickham residents have been unconvinced that their surgery could cope with additional patients.

Kelly Stewart, from Wickham, said: 'Asking Wickham to cover would be an impossible situation.'

Another Wickham resident, Lynette Davies, said: 'I have had to wait three weeks for a fasting blood test - appointments with chosen doctor are like gold dust. No way could Wickham Surgery cope.'

Construction on the Welborne development is due to begin after Junction 10 on the M27 is finished, with the area's population expected to be 14,400 by 2045.