The campaign for Kingsway surgery (left winter 2014) and the opening of the new Kingsway Health Centre (right winter 2018)
When I wrote last on Primary Care in May, it was to highlight the opportunity of a new City Centre Health Centre on Quayside, between Shire Hall and the River Severn. But I also highlighted that the new Kingsway Health Centre would be opening later this year.
And the good news is that it has opened. Like Rome, the Kingsway Health Centre wasn’t built in a day. It is eleven years since I first discussed the need with (then) Quedgeley County Councillor Jackie Hall and (then) NHS PCT Director Jan Stubbings, as residents started to move into Kingsway. We could see the pressures on existing surgeries in Quedgeley increasing. Of course the Great Recession of 2007-2010 slowed down sales of Kingsway properties considerably and it took time for the forecast population to materialise, and so trigger the NHS requirement for a new surgery plan.
In fact I don’t think this great £3.8m project would have happened if it wasn’t for the dogged determination and commitment of both Rosebank Health, who already have two GP surgeries (Stroud Rd and Quedgeley) and the NHS. Their first meetings on this were ten years ago, and certainly there were times during the talks we had in my office between County Council, City Council, developer Robert Hitchens and Rosebank when the whole thing could have fallen apart.
But Rosebank held their nerve and this immaculate, well equipped Centre, so different from the typical two doctor surgery bungalows of my youth, has come to be. Rosebank Senior Partner Dr Jonathan Unwin rightly praised his Practice Director Wyndham Parry for juggling many balls while delivering the project. If there was a civilian DSO equivalent for delivering key urban infrastructure I would certainly put Wyndham up for one - alongside Philip Ardley for the award winning new Bus Station (I mean Transport Hub..).
So it’s now in action, caters for 13,000 patients, has mini operating theatres for minor injuries (giving it the feel almost of a Community Hospital) and there’s is a Badhams pharmacy attached. The Centre also takes the pressure off the two existing (much smaller) surgeries in Quedgeley.
Last weekend patients, doctors and representatives from all the many bodies involved in this – from the NHS to GVA architects, Carters the builders and Lloyds the source of finance – gathered and the Practice’s longest registered patients Mr and Mrs Allen cut the ribbon. In a way they symbolised the change of Primary Care: things were very different when they first went to Rosebank in Stroud Road in the 1940s (Mr Allen worked on the railway line that ran into Eastgate Station).
But there is one bit of important continuity. Dr Unwin and the Rosebank Practice combine two important beliefs: one in old fashioned service and their relationship with patients, and the other in the importance of science and technology in making a difference to Health. And when I spoke at the Opening I stressed the importance of the three families involved – those who put the Centre together, those who are treated there and then all of us in Gloucester, for whom healthcare is a vital ingredient of our city’s success.
Lastly then, and coming back to where I started, the City Centre Health Centre (I’m sure there’ll be a better name) is making progress, although some agreements remain to be signed, and I understand after months of searching that a new site for the combined Hucclecote and Brockworth surgeries has now been identified. So in 2019 I look forward to update you on both those important developments.
Meanwhile here are some photos from the happy Kingsway Health Centre opening.
P.S Do let me know if you have any health queries firstname.lastname@example.org