Plans for two GP surgeries to relocate to a new £7.5m health centre development in Lydney are moving forward following funding being approved.

The funding was approved by NHS Gloucestershire’s Primary Care and Direct Commissioning Committee.

The news means that subject to planning approval from the Forest Council, the new centre could be operational by spring 2026, enabling the practices to provide GP services to their 15,000 patients.

Lydney Health Centre and Severnbank Surgery plan to redevelop the former Co-op building in Newerne Street and relocate to a new primary care centre there. The building would be extensively redeveloped while making use of the existing Co-op structure.

The practices would remain wholly separate entities, occupying separate parts of the building with their own self-contained clinical and administration spaces, but sharing some common areas.

Dr Tristan Lench, GP Partner at Severnbank Surgery, said: “We are restricted by lack of space in our current premises, and the age, size and shape of the buildings mean that further improvements are no longer viable.

Co-locating into a single site would help us to work flexibly and efficiently, using the additional space to provide new services and clinics and offer training opportunities to staff.

“In 2022, we carried out a survey with our patients to understand what is important to them.

“The results indicated that our patients value an accessible location, the ability to park, access to district nurses and receptionists and use of modern technology and digital healthcare.

“These new premises would enable us to meet these expectations.”

If approved, the building would be completely reconfigured and refurbished to environmentally friendly specifications, with expansion space for a further 4,000 patients if needed in the future.

It would include 20 consultation rooms, a pharmacy and a well-being activity space for local community groups to use, and would be accessible by bus, foot, cycle. There would also be car park with 60 spaces.

Ashley Seymour, Development Director of Assura, which is developing the new facility, said: “We are delighted to see this project moving forward. It will be a fantastic asset that is fit for the future of primary care and deliver much needed services to the community in Lydney."

Helen Goodey, Director of Primary Care and Place at NHS Gloucestershire, said: “Modernising primary care facilities in Lydney is a priority, particularly given the anticipated growth in the number of patients over the next 10 years.

We have been working closely with stakeholders and partners to find a way to deliver a viable, high quality and value for money scheme. 

The new premises would offer patients and staff a more pleasant experience, with family friendly facilities and waiting areas, improved security and areas for confidential conversations and improved infection control arrangements.

“We are delighted that this business case has been approved and, subject to planning permission, hope to see the building work commence early next year.”

The news has been welcomed by County Councillor Alan Preest (C, Lydney) who said he was over the moon with the announcement. “I thought that the recent general election may have delayed this, but hopefully not,” he said.

“Wrongly we may have lost beds in Lydney and will never replace the iconic community institution that is Lydney Hospital but hopefully we have secured a vast improvement to basic primary care facilities.”

The plans for a new health centre come against a backdrop of an expected growth in the size of Lydney in the coming years.

The Forest Council this week started a public consultation on its proposed Local Plan which would see Lydney become the prime area for more housing.