People living on a new housing estate say they are frustrated by the lack of progress over getting a promised GP surgery.

Plans for the new medical centre for the 20,000 people who live in around Great Western Park in Didcot were unveiled in 2018.

However, more than four years later, and following planning delays, construction over the surgery has still not begun – and other surgeries in the town are struggling to cope with the volume of patients on their books.

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Councillor, Ian Snowdon said that when planning permission was granted for the development, a condition stated that prior to 1,000 homes being occupied, there had to be a permanent health centre in place.

He said: “They have completed over 3,500 houses now and still no health facilities. It is not a promise, it is a legal requirement.

“Some people ring the surgery and wait 25 to 30 minutes to speak with a receptionist. I’m not blaming the GP surgeries, they are doing an amazing job, but with Didcot growing at an such a rate, in the planning application there was always a condition that there would have to be health facilities built and they are long overdue.”

Gareth Clarke, chairman of the Great Western Park Residents Association, said: “It is very frustrating. People are spread off across the surrounding surgeries. It has put a lot of pressure on the existing facilities because there haven’t been any other ones appearing in Didcot.”

Rachel Ward, a GP at Didcot’s Woodlands Medical Centre, said her surgery had done everything accommodate a huge number of additional patients, but now they are struggling with space for the staff.

She said: “I was employed in order to expand our GP facilities, we have extended our building, we have massively increased the number of staff.

“We have been in a very lucky position. We have been able to recruit staff. Often a lot of GPs struggle with that but we have been able to recruit GPs and nurses, which is fantastic. The problem we have now is that we have no space.

“We use every room at every time of the day. We have clinics running until 8pm several nights a week, and we are at a stage now that we are constantly hot desking. We have to have multiple doctors in offices doing phone calls and even taking turns to use a room to see patients face to face.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which plans, buys and overseas health services for the county said: “The OCCG is working with the Woodlands Medical Practice and district council officers to develop and identify space on the GWP to develop a branch surgery of Woodlands Medical Centre. We are also working with all parties to identify an interim space solution to eliminate the pressure on practices in Didcot.”


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