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GPs in Havering have taken a “significant” step forward in developing plans for the new centre of excellence on the St George’s Hospital site.

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The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this week agreed to submit its latest proposals to NHS England, who now own the Suttons Lane site along with NHS Property Services.

Due to the reorganisation of the NHS last April, local GPs no longer have the power to propose building development - and must show a clinical need for the services.

And the possibility of the whole estate being sold looms if they fail to convince NHS England there is one.

Should that happen, the money would go into a central pot, and not to Havering.

The CCG’s original plans involved using 10 per cent of the site for the new centre, with the remaining 90 per cent being sold to fund it.

But following a public consultation, it is now hoping to use 15 per cent.

“We listened to the public and our partners,” said Dr Atul Aggarwal, chair of Havering CCG.

“We want to build the new health and wellbeing centre so it fronts onto Suttons Lane, as that will make it more accessible.

“Fifteen per cent would be the most we’d need to have good public access.

The centre of excellence for older people would house GPs, a diagnostic centre and a joint team of health and social care professionals.

“It’s a long process, but we need to get it right,” said Dr Aggarwal.

“We’re still just as committed to improving services for local people and we are doing everything we can to make it happen. I’d like to thank our patients and the public for their continued support and their patience.”

NHS England will now look at the CCG’s proposals and decide whether there is a need for them.

If approved, the Property Service will then look at any empty NHS buildings in the area that could house the facilities before making a decision.

Read the Recorder’s piece on St George’s from October by clicking the link on the right.

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