May 01, 2017 Last Updated 10:20 AM, Apr 28, 2017

Future-proofing primary care

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As financial restrictions continue to dominate developments in the healthcare sector, a medical practice in Leintwardine, Herefordshire has invested £2m to future-proof the primary care services it provides for the next 30 years.

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Mortimer Medical Practice which has additional practices in Leominster and Orleton, has been working with Bournville Architects, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to design a multi-functional practice which meets the needs of the area’s growing population. Plans for the new facility started in 2002 when initial assessments of the existing building confirmed it fell short of minimum standards. Whilst it underwent some refurbishment to improve internal access to meet measures set out in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), structural constraints meant that full compliance was not achievable.

Signposted as a priority scheme within the Strategic Services Development Plan (SDDP), Bournville Architects was commissioned in 2009 to design a 525m2 building which not only reflected existing requirements but which would also meet the changes in primary care for the next 30 years.

The new GP-owned facility comprises consulting rooms, an extended nursing area, training facilities, improved access and a secure pharmacy, as well as easy access to community services such as midwives, physiotherapists and health visitors.

It is the distribution of funding for this type of development, often made on a case-by-case basis, which enables GPs to take increased ownership and control over their practice. Ian Tipton, Director at Bournville Architects, explains: “GPs are under increasing pressure to take responsibility for the modernisation of existing facilities as well as continue to provide high quality and innovative care amenities.

“Gone are the days when doctors’ surgeries were all built to the same specification. Buildings are now more than just bricks and mortar – they are an integral part of the community. “The Leintwardine medical centre has been designed to deliver a sustainable solution which will provide long-term value to the area, improving future patient care facilities in a predominantly rural community setting.”

Set in 0.23 hectares, the new medical centre has red cedar cladding to the exterior as well as external rendering, slate pitched roofing and aluminium high level patent glazing to provide natural lighting solutions.

Sustainability and environmental considerations were holistically incorporated into the design to achieve a BREEAM Healthcare ‘Very Good’ Rating.

Based on passive solar design principles, the building incorporates rainwater recycling, a sustainable urban drainage system, improved thermal performance and, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery to improve environment performance.

Dr Andrew Black, Partner at Mortimer Medical Practice, says: “Due to rapidly changing circumstances, the former surgery was unfortunately no longer fit for purpose and was unable to meet the requirements of our medical practitioners or patients.

“The new building has relieved the growing pressure to conform to assessment standards and provides a solution that meets with high levels of design, sustainability and longevity to help promote future development of primary care based services in the region.”

The new facility was opened by Lady Darnley, Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire late last year.

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