A NEW £2million GP surgery is hoping to extend its provision from five to seven days a week.
Church Lane Surgery, the replacement for St Lawrence Surgery, will open its doors for the first time on Monday after the sizeable investment.
The purpose-built surgery, based in the grounds of Braintree College, introduced its new home at an open event on Friday.
During a tour Kerry Harding, head of estates for NHS England, said: “I think the old site was about 300 square metres, this is about 720 with much bigger rooms.
“We are planning for up to 2021 based on five day access, but we are looking to have seven day access, not necessarily with the same GPs.
“There are ten treatment rooms, the same as there were in St Lawrence, but these are all infection control compliant.
“Phase two will see a lift installed and the office space upstairs moved for more treatment rooms.
“We have even widened the footpath so people can’t hear things or see in and a new ambulance bay has been built.”
The old St Lawrence Surgery closed its doors for the last time on Friday with its registered patients, of which there are more than 13,000, being registered at the new practice.
Services at the new surgery will continue to be provided by Virgin Care, which was awarded a ten-year alternative provider medical services (APMS) contract from June 2016.
Nurse Hilda, who has been based in St Lawrence for 21 years, is thrilled with the new site and her consultation room.
She said: “I’m very excited about it, it’s perfect and it’s everything we need. I will be sad to say goodbye but this is a fresh start.
“It’s going to be really good and it is beautiful.”
The surgery was built thanks to a £1.8m investment from Braintree Council and £200,000 from NHS England.
Nicola Beach, CEO of Braintree Council, said: “This is the first of a number of investments into local health services that Braintree Council is involved in, both in our towns and rural areas.
“This type of investment not only provides huge benefits for the people who live and work in the district, but give the district’s taxpayers a reasonable return on investment which allows the council to support and invest into other key services.”
Simon Evans, locality director for NHS England, has already planned for an increase in patients.
He said: “NHS England is delighted to open this new, modern building for patients of the St Lawrence Medical Practice and the wider community.
“The size and location of the new fit-for-purpose building means that there is car parking available for patients and the new building is big enough to allow for the projected population growth of patients.
“NHS England is working closely with Virgin Care to make the transition for patients to the new premises as smooth as possible.”