YEARS after NHS England abandoned a multi-million-pound expansion project for Wantage Health Centre, an Oxfordshire health body is working on an 'affordable solution' to help its two GP practices cope with the ever-growing number of patients.

Back in 2015, Church Street and Newbury Street surgeries applied for £4 million from NHS England to expand their shared building on Mably Way.

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Their request, however, was surprisingly turned down in November 2016 because of 'lack of finances' – even though both practices had spent years working on the joint proposal with NHS England.

Now, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) – an assembly of county GPs who bid for NHS funding to run all hospitals and health centres – has revealed that it is working with the two surgeries on how to best tackle the oversubscription problem.

A spokesperson for the group commented: "We recognise the pressure on space at Wantage Health Centre, especially in relation to housing growth in the surrounding area.

"We have been actively working with the two practices and landlords to identify an affordable solution.

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"However, the landlords and the district valuer, which determines the rent paid for our GP premises to ensure value for money for the public purse, are in discussion on the cost impact of any extension."

The spokesperson also added that once this is in place, a business plan will be needed and approved before a scheme can be supported by the OCCG.

When the health centre's joint bid was turned down, the two practices were already operating at capacity, without the room to take on more patients.

The new space has been described as 'essential' as the surgeries take on thousands of new residents as hundreds of homes are being built in Wantage and the surrounding area.

However, in order to expand, Church Street and Newbury Street surgeries need the NHS funding.