The executive board of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) has accepted a business case for a new GP surgery at Great Western Park.

Confirming this development via its website last Friday (February 2), the ICB stated the development is a result of “extensive work and negotiations with the medical estates developer of the site” and “due consideration of the significant needs of the increasing Didcot population.”

The update continued: “The existing primary care estate has absorbed growth beyond capacity, despite other smaller projects (the extension of Woodlands Medical Centre in 2017 and conversion of admin space into clinical accommodation at Oak Tree Health Centre in 2021).”

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The ICB the project is considered “top priority” for reasons including: site allocation, developer contributions, value for money in consideration of “strategic need” and it being “highly deliverable.”

It noted the town’s current three GP practices are “facing significant pressure from the growth in patient numbers as more people move into new homes” and states that a two-phase development forms a plan to address these needs.

The first is the new branch surgery run by the Woodlands Medical Centre team on the Great Western Park development, followed by a further extension of the current Woodlands Medical Centre “to meet longer term demand”.

A medical estates developer is listed to build the new premises, which will be partially funded by “previously agreed” housing developer contributions.

The ICB recognises the project “has been subject to many frustrating delays” which it attributes to “the legal complexities emanating from the S106 Agreement (developer funding contributions), the multiagency involvement in the project and the challenging economic circumstances that currently face property developments.”

However, for the project to become a reality, the care board next requires full planning consent and a series of legal agreements – between Vale of White Horse District Council, the ICB, the Woodlands Medical Centre, the medical estates developer and NHS England – before a construction tender can be entered into.

Didcot West county and district councillor Ian Snowdon said: “This proposed new surgery is desperately needed. I hope it happens and am hugely supportive.

“We’re always being told this new surgery is round the corner. It’s been on the cards since I first started as councillor seven years ago.

“However the planning application was first submitted in 2018 and is still live. There’s since been very little progress; we’ve had many false storms and I hope this is the push that will make it happen.

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“Our three closest surgeries are at capacity for adult patients – so many new houses are built with insufficient facilities to serve a growing population.”

In response to Mr Snowdon sharing this update through his social media platforms, one resident responded: “Doesn't give a start date or even a proposal of when this desperately needed facility will come to fruition. Action speaks louder than words get it built ASAP”.

Another concurred: “It needs to happen sooner rather than later. Unfortunately the wheels turn slowly."