02 October 2008

Wellington Avenue

If you live in Wellington Avenue in Aldershot and need a GP you would be well provided for. It seems about 18 GPs are based in Wellington Avenue. Could it be that there is a polyclinic there? Could they have closed a whole hospital and replaced it with a polyclinic? How much would that have cost?

Aldershot Centre for Health is among the first of a new wave of private sector provided one-stop health centres . As large as many community hospitals and up to 30 times bigger than a conventional health centre, it will provide front line healthcare for about 45,000 local people, as well as specialist services for around 250,000. (pdf)

So let's get this right. Eighteen GPs are now based in a Centre for Health which is as large as a hospital. It's 30 times bigger than an ordinary health centre and it provides specialist services for a quarter of a million people. And it has a CT scanner. What is this place? It's not a hospital. It not a GPs' surgery. Is it a polyclinic? Is it sensible?

How has it been financed?

The Wilky deal represents a highly innovative financial structuring. I’m sure other property groups will be very interested in the potential offered by this exciting new market. (pdf)

Dr Grumble also thinks other property groups will be very interested. After all it did cost £28 million of taxpayers' money.

A private clinic, airport, hotel and the 'Hilton Health Centre' - these are just some of the comparisons/comments made by patients when they have visited the brand new Aldershot Centre for Health for the first time.

Sounds good. But what about the old lady who wanted her own GP at the end of her road. Will she need to move to Wellington Avenue? Yes. That's it. Get all the old folk and disabled to move to Wellington Avenue and everything will be just fine.

Come to think of it the old lady could go on her bike.

Car parking is limited on site and there is a charge for on-site car parking. There are 50 covered cycle parking spaces provided on-site.

It's quite big (pdf) compared with the average GPs' surgery. In some pictures it resembles one of Darzi's virtual polyclinics. I wonder what the old lady thinks. Do you think she will appreciate having the CT scanner there? Just in case.


Anonymous said...

The 18 GPs you mention on Wellington Avenue were at the now defunct Aldershot Health Centre and were there for years. It was a building with three GP practices in it. All three have now moved to the new, part-Ministry of Defence financed Aldershot Centre for Health, on Hospital Hill, a few hundred yards away.
It is not a polyclinic, it's a health centre for mainly military personnel (80%) with some allowances for civilians, such as a new home for the distinctly grotty Aldershot Health Centre.

It has had its teething problems, such as a poor travel plan, but don't mistake this for a polyclinic.

Dr Grumble said...

Thanks, anonymous, for clarifying that.

Anonymous said...

Actually the Army use only about 20% of the facility - the bulk of the staff, visitors and patients are from the civil side of the local community. And the public sector didn't finance the building costs - that is why a private developer was involved; he funded the construction.

Dr Grumble said...

Thanks anonymous 2. Private developers are not given to charity though.

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