HEALTH chiefs have given the go-ahead for a new home on the edge of Coleford for three GP surgeries.

If the proposals do become reality, the Brunston and Lydbrook practice, and Coleford Family Doctors will be housed in a new building near Great Oaks Hospice.

A business case for the GP-led project has been approved by Gloucestershire Care Commissioning Group (CGC) for the project which could see the new, merged practice open in the summer of 2022.

Brunston – which is based at Cinderhill in Coleford – and Lydbrook currently have 6,083 patients on its list while Coleford Family Doctors – based in the town centre – have 7,098.

Work is expected to start on the new premises on a ‘greenfield’ site between the hospice and The Coombs nursing home in July next year.

The practices both currently have very restricted accommodation and would like to be able to widen training opportunities to medical students and GP registrars and they also want to develop specialist training facilities for practice nurses.

Lydbrook Health Centre is described as “outdated, cramped, unsafe and is not suitable for development”.

Both practices are in buildings significantly smaller than needed for the populations currently served.

Taking into account the current condition of the buildings, planned housing developments, the developing service model, Coleford was identified as a priority for infrastructure development, said the CGC’s associate director for commissioning, Andrew Hughes.

With planned house buildings in the area, the combined number of patients will be around 15,100 by 2031 – nearly 2,000 more than at present.

According to Mr Hughes’s report to the CGC: “The merger allows more efficient and streamline ways of working, share good practice and benefit from a wider range of specialist skills, be more resilient and provide a safer, stronger work environment for the whole practice team.”

The Coombs site was chosen because it is more central to patient population, is a main access route to Berry Hill and has public transport links.

The new £5.1 million surgery would mean a “massive improvement in the patient experience,” according to the business case.

Director of Primary Care at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Helen Goodey said: “We are delighted that this development is moving forward. The new health centre would be modern, spacious and environmentally friendly, and would enable doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to offer a broader range of services to patients.

“It is hoped that subject to planning permission being obtained in January 2021, building work on the new centre could start in summer 2021, taking around 12 months to complete.”

When operational, the new practice is expected to provide GP services to around 15,000 patients.

On behalf of both practices, Dr Elizabeth Williams, GP partner at Coleford Family Doctors, added: “We are delighted that that this new health centre in Coleford is moving a step closer to becoming a reality, and we look forward to progressing our plans to bring much needed, modern and spacious premises to the area.”