A New Primary Care Centre at Northgate, Oxford
Facilitating the co-location of King Edward Street, 27 Beaumont Street and 28 Beaumont Street Surgeries
Summary of project
The Northgate development is located at the junction of Cornmarket and Market Street, including three floors of noncollege provisions as part of the Jesus College development. Agreement by Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) has been given for the partners of King Edward Street, 27 Beaumont Street and 28 Beaumont Street Surgeries to enter into a development agreement with Jesus College for a GP surgery to be constructed, primarily at basement level, but with entrance and additional spaces on ground and first floors. This will enable the co-location of these 3 surgeries.
We have been able to secure a unique opportunity to move to a purpose-built medical centre in the middle of Oxford which will bring together medical, health and social care staff to provide patient-centred treatment and deliver high quality care. The move will support and enable the practices to achieve their shared vision of retaining our own individual identities, yet sharing a number of rooms, providing excellent accessibility and continuity of care with named doctors. Moreover, this will enable us to work collaboratively in the future to transform current models of care. The move also solves the very acute pressures faced by King Edward Street surgery. Its lease expires towards the end of 2021 and it has not been able to secure a guarantee of renewal. King Edward St approached 27 and 28 Beaumont Street surgeries as like-minded small practices to consider a co-location, and we all gladly accepted the opportunity that this would afford all three practices for the future.
It has long been acknowledged that the current buildings are too small. The partners have been actively seeking suitable premises within Central Oxford in which to co-locate for over a decade, with a series of discussions having taken place with potential developers over recent years. An extensive property search was undertaken between 2016 and 2019 which revealed the limited availability of suitable choices. Whilst a small number of possible options were identified, none were ultimately considered viable due to various issues around sustainability and cost. Until now!
This rare ‘oven ready’ scheme will be completed by an external contractor, enabling the practices to move in late 2021. It is an unparalleled opportunity. Moving to modern, attractive premises remains a long-standing aim despite earlier plans floundering for lack of a suitable site. All three practices are excited about working closely with Jesus College to deliver this brand new ‘state-of-the-art’ health centre. This development is considered to be the only suitable premises which are appropriate in location, size and financial viability of all options reviewed over many years.
Purpose-built, modern and well-equipped premises have clear benefits for staff and patients. The new site more than doubles the number of consulting and treatment rooms available for the three practices, thereby enabling transformative ways of working. This will ensure that the three practices are able to meet the needs of all our patients not only today but for decades to come.
Northgate is located on the corner of Cornmarket Street and Market Street. The new building includes academic spaces that form part of Jesus College on higher floors. Cornmarket Street is dedicated wholly to retail, while Market Street features both retail and collegial use. Further along Market Street and adjacent to Jesus College, we find the Covered Market entrances to the south. There are wider plans to develop Market Street to improve the area.
At ground floor level the provision of GP space provides an airy entrance hall, staircase and lift lobby. The view into and throughout the ground floor is simple, attractive and uncluttered. There is lots of glass and easy views through the building to aid security. It will also bring as much light as possible into the building
Access to the building will be via the newly-surfaced Market Street. The road on Market Street will remain. For those who are frail or have very limited mobility we hope there will still be the option to be dropped off at the door. It will also allow for ambulance access should it be needed.
The new site enables clinical accommodation to be arranged around each surgery having a separate area of the building. Whilst the large reception desk is shared, there will be a distinct area staffed by a receptionist from each practice. In total there are 27 consulting and treatment rooms for the three practices. In addition there is a minor surgery suite of three rooms. Because the facilities will be situated in the basement/lower ground floor, the architects have taken care to compensate for the lack of windows. Light wells at the southeast and northwest corners bring natural light to waiting and reception areas. The clinical rooms will be fitted with LED screens that display changing skyscapes to act as ‘illusory windows’, which along with a clutter-free layout will help to create an impression of space and airiness. Two lifts and a staircase give access from Market Street to all levels including the basement level. There is additional fire escape access in the building arrangement. There are three meeting rooms at basement level to host staff meetings, patient education sessions and other functions requiring a larger meeting space.
Artist impression of the entrance to Northgate House
Artist impression of the stairway to the reception area, with a light, bright arrival to the practices
New and Additional Services
The three practices comprise three fifths of the newly formed Oxford Central Primary Care Network (PCN), which serves a total of 40,000 patients. This is a government requirement for developing large-scale health services. The new facility will enable the practices to work with other providers to deliver the objectives of the PCN. The aims of the PCN are also to create genuinely integrated teams of General Practice, Community Health and Social care staff, thereby improving the accessibility and delivery of a much wider range of health and social care to patients. This will help relieve system-wide pressure whilst greatly improving the care that can be provided in the city centre area. The new premises are being designed to maintain the three practices as independent practices, whilst facilitating the integration of other local service provision. We intend to partner with local organisations and become a ‘community hub’ providing access to diverse and increased community-based care.
Published: Dec 11, 2020