Urgent talks called after fears Welborne could lose healthcare hub

URGENT talks are set to take place after plans for healthcare provision at a new 6,000-home town were thrown into doubt.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 2:16 pm
An artist's impression of the Welborne development

Councillors said proposals to cut plans for a healthcare centre on the site of Welborne, near Fareham, were an ‘absolute scandal’.

It came as it emerged over the weekend that Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group – which decides how NHS funds are allocated – had called on Fareham Borough Council to cut the plans for the future town’s new facility.

A letter to the council from the CCG and neighbouring organisation West Hampshire CCG, urged the local authority to remove land provision for health facilities in its Welborne plan, stating that it could not provide the manpower to run the facility.

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Councillor Sean Woodward, Tory leader of the council said: ‘It is an absolute scandal that they are asking us to remove the plans for the health centre.

‘Healthcare is one the primary concerns of residents about Welborne and it would be disastrous if this facility was not built and manned.’

Cllr Woodward said he would look to meet with the CCGs in the coming weeks to thrash out a plan to ensure the town had healthcare provision.

He added: ‘Welborne will be nearly twice the size of Whiteley. It needs to have healthcare provision on site.’

The letter from the CCGs went on to state that Wickham Surgery – which has recently been redeveloped – other GP surgeries in Fareham and the proposed Fareham Health Hub would pick up the potential 15,000 new patients.

Lib Dem councillor Shaun Cunningham said: ‘There urgently needs to now be a joined-up approach in order to solve this. We need more than just local organisations sorting this. We urgently need the government to help provide the funds to ensure Welborne has healthcare provision.

‘The community cannot be short-changed on this. There are so many underlying issues to this and there’s also the question of education.

‘Four schools are planned for Welborne. Should we fear that there will be no funding for them as well?’

Andy Wood, chief finance officer for Fareham and Gosport CCG, said: ‘We are committed to ensuring that the people of Welborne have access to high-quality primary care services but in our letter we explained that there were already four surgeries that covered the Welborne area, so we did not envisage a new health building would be required.’

‘Practices are increasingly working together to ensure that patients have good access to a multi-disciplinary primary care teams and we are continuing to talk with GP practices in our area that this will be the case for the new residents of Welborne.’

A spokesman for NHS West Hampshire CCG said: ‘We have been in correspondence with Fareham Borough Council with regards to proposed new housing developments around Welborne. We will be assessing the impact on GP services as the scheme progresses.’

Buckland Development Ltd (BDL) submitted outline plans in March – which included a health centre.

A spokesman for BDL said: ‘We have met with local CCGs and the council while developing our plans. Our intention is to create a sustainable community with necessary infrastructure and facilities to serve future residents.

‘We will continue working to ensure that this can be achieved in the most appropriate way.’