Hardwicke House Group Practice needs new premises
Find out about the proposed new build and stay up to date with the latest information below.
What would the new building mean for patients?
Pleasant waiting areas designed for privacy and discretion
New admin and training accommodation
Dedicated patient carpark with 62 spaces and cycle storage
33 new clinical rooms including consulting and treatment suites, minor operations space, counselling areas and group rooms.
Why does the Hardwicke House Group Practice need new premises?
The practice currently operates from five surgery sites across Sudbury, Cornard, Bures and Clare. None of the sites is purpose built and the practice’s main base at Hardwicke House is a Grade II listed building. The buildings are too small and too old to provide modern health care services, with little scope to extend or adapt them.
The practice already serves more than 23,000 patients but that number is set to grow, with population growth and new housing developments being delivered in the area. More space for delivering care is vital.
To meet the needs of our population, the Hardwicke House Group Practice – together with the West Suffolk CCG and Apollo Capital Projects Development Ltd (now part of Assura) – plans to create new premises to ensure it has the space it needs for the future of care.
The proposed new facility will replace the existing surgery sites at Meadow Lane, Stour Street (Hardwicke House) and the Cornard Surgery.
You can view the plans below. Designs are still in progress, so may yet evolve.
About the new premises
The proposed replacement building will be located in Sudbury town centre on a site that is currently used as a lorry park. The site, next to Waitrose off Station Road, was chosen for its proximity to car parking and public transport, and because it sits centrally within the practice’s catchment area. Babergh District Council has agreed to sell the land for the scheme.
The proposed new facility will be modern and larger in size (1,900m2), with more clinical rooms than any of the practice’s existing sites and an on-site pharmacy. The new building will be fully accessible, energy-efficient and equipped with protective screens and separate entrances and exits to use when needed.
There will be 62 carparking spaces and cycle storage.
Health education space will help the practice attract new clinicians including GPs and nurses, as well as new skillsets moving into primary care.
The proposals support the NHS strategy to strengthen and expand the availability of local primary care services closer to home and out of the hospital, something that is echoed in the NHS Long Term Plan and local commissioning strategies.
The Assura Community Fund
Through its national community fund, Assura – the funder of the scheme - offers small grants to health-improving charity projects in the communities around all new medical centres that it is involved with. As Apollo Capital Project Development are now a part of Assura PLC, it means that a local health project in Sudbury can benefit from a grant, and this will be explored with local organisations as the proposed scheme moves ahead.
Click here to suggest a local project you think should be invited to apply.
Frequently asked questions
Why can’t the existing buildings be modernised?
The Practice have explored numerous options in seeking a long-term solution to their premises issues. None of the Practices existing buildings are suitable for extending. The existing buildings are all very old, they are not purpose built, and the internal configuration of the buildings does not make them suitable for further adaptation or extension. There is also insufficient room at each of the surgery sites to extend the premises, whilst also providing patient parking facilities. Having explored all possible options to continue operating from the existing premises, the option of developing new purpose-built facilities is the option most favoured by the Practice, and one which is also supported by the NHS.
Why does Cornard Surgery have to close?
The Practice does not own the Cornard Surgery and is leased from a private Landlord, so there are no guarantees that the Practice would continue to be able to operate from the site indefinitely.
The surgery at Cornard is also small and there is limited scope to extend or reconfigure. The Practice are also keen to consolidate the number of surgeries operated by them so the closure of the Cornard Surgery, whilst replacing this with a larger improved facility is favoured. The new site is in an accessible location for Cornard residents, being less than 1.5m away from the existing surgery.
The proposed closure of the Cornard Surgery is the subject of an ongoing Patient Engagement exercise being led by the West Suffolk CCG and Practice where the local community will have the opportunity to raise their concerns as part of planned engagement meetings taking place in September and October – for further details on the Patient Engagement events planned, please visit www.hardwickehousesurgery.co.uk.
What is being done to support travel to the new centre for patients of Cornard Surgery?
The Practice have explored numerous potential sites in which to build new surgery premises and one of the main factors in choosing the Station Road site is that it is centrally located within Sudbury Town Centre and one which is within walking distance from bus and rail services.
There are currently good bus services from Cornard to Sudbury Town Centre with a bus service operating every 30 mins. This provides a direct means of accessing the surgery for patients living in Cornard wishing to visit the new surgery. The bus station is currently located within 300m from the new building.
It is acknowledged that public transport may not be suitable for certain patient groups and in which case, there are excellent alternative means of travelling to the new building using local community transport (Go Start) or local taxi firms. It is understood that there is financial assistance available for pensioners using local public transport and/or taxis in the form of travel vouchers.
How much parking is available at the new surgery and is this enough to serve a full practice?
There will be a total of 62 spaces provided as part of the new building, of which 48 spaces will be available for use by patients and visitors – these spaces will be available to use free of charge. There will be a total of 6 spaces that will be designated ‘accessible parking bays’ for use by disabled patients – these will be located close to the building entrances for ease of access.
What is going to happen with the Lorry Park?
The Lorry Park is a facility operated by Babergh District Council. Neither the Practice nor the Project Team have been party to discussions around the reprovision of a Lorry Park within Sudbury.
What is being done to prevent further traffic issues at the Kingfisher/Waitrose carpark and how will pedestrian safety be considered?
There are no proposals to implement any changes to the junction leading from the carpark into Station Road / Great Eastern Road. There is anticipated to be only a minor impact on this junction because of the proposed new surgery.
However, the proposals will include improvements to the pedestrian links between the new surgery and the main pathways leading from the junction at Station Road / Great Eastern Road – this will include the provision of drop kerbs and blister paving.
The new building will operate a Travel Plan which is designed to encourage use of sustainable means of accessing the new building other than by means of single occupancy car journeys. It is expected that the operation of a Travel Plan, coupled with the proximity of the new building to both the bus/rail station will help minimise the impact of the new building has on the roads and junctions within the immediate vicinity of the proposed new building.
How will the surgery car park be protected from antisocial behaviour?
The car parking facilities will include a ‘carpark management system’ which is designed to discourage use of the car park other than for those purposes intended. The car park facilities (and the building generally) will include CCTV which will assist in monitoring the location both during and outside of core surgery hours. It is anticipated that the addition of CCTV systems and intensification of the use of the site generally, will help discourage anti-social behaviour.
How will the new reception remain welcoming along with keeping/improving confidentiality?
The design proposals for the waiting and reception areas are to create a warm and welcoming environment for patients and visitors. This will be achieved through a combination of natural light and naturally ventilated spaces. This will be complemented through interior designs and themes and carefully selected pallet of colours and finishes to stimulate interest for patients.
In terms of maintaining confidentiality, this will be achieved through adequate spacing between the waiting room seating and the reception desk. The ceilings and finishes will be acoustically treated to absorb sound transmission which also aides’ confidential discussions. Where there are particularly sensitive topics discussed, patients can also be seen with a dedicated interview room which is annexed to the reception area.
The reception area will also feature self-check-in screens which will reduce the need for most patient contact on reception.
What environmental elements will be included in the new building?
The NHS require all new developments to be delivered with sustainability at the forefront of the design and construction process, and through into the operational phase of the building. The project has been registered with BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and will seek to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation.
Where possible, materials for the building will be sourced locally and thus reducing the carbon footprint during the construction phase of the project. The building will also include systems such as Solar PV and Air Source Heat Pumps which will provide heating and power within the building with energy efficiency in mind. This will be complimented by including low energy systems within the building such as LED lighting and a ‘Building Management System’ designed to reduce energy wastage.
The project looks at sustainability from a holistic viewpoint, therefore a Travel Plan will be implemented which will encourage staff, patients, and visitors to adopt sustainable modes of accessing the site. This strategy will be complemented through the provision of a number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points as part of the on-site carpark arrangements.
How will the building blend in with the local area?
The building has been designed is aim at proving a modern contemporary look and feel – which is a distinct contrast to the existing surgery facilities. The design team have looked at introducing materials used locally e.g., buff brick which is used extensively as part of the Waitrose/Kingfisher Leisure Centre buildings. There will also be brick detailing to add texture and visual interest to the building elevations, which is similar concept that has been used extensively as part of the Gainsborough House project. Bulmer brick is also proposed and will be used to naturally signpost the entrances into the new building. Timber will also be used in key areas, which is used to soften the appearance of the building, in particular minimising the impact of the building on sensitive views e.g., Friars Meadow.
What COVID-19 precautions will be included?
The building design does include a separate entrance and sub-wait facilities as part of a self-contained clinical suite which will be located on the ground floor. This design feature directly addresses the need for enhanced infection control measures. and this will help management (and potential segregation of patients), specifically with COVID in mind, but this also applies to other infectious diseases.
The new facility will adopt any COVID preventative measures recommend under general government and/or NHS guidance.
Will there be additional self-sign in screens?
There is likely going to be additional check-in screens located within the waiting areas – self check in will be encouraged.
Will the new building improve availability of appointments?
The new building will provide much needed additional capacity in which to increase the number of appointments available, simply by having more space to accommodate more clinicians.
The consolidation of surgeries operated by Practice will also help reduce the need for clinicians to travel from site to site, which will also mean more time available to see patients.
Is there a digital strategy for the new building now that a lot of appointments are online?
Like all Primary Care facilities, the NHS is encouraging greater use of IT which includes online appointments – this is part of the NHS Digital Strategy. Provisions will be made for patients to attend Hospital outpatient consultations within a practice setting – this will enable patients to see hospital consultants without the need to travel to a hospital.
What additional services will be provided from the new building?
The Practice aspires to provide more services and are currently in discussions with a number of services providers. Unlike the existing surgeries, the new building will provide the practice with greater scope to house more services.
Active discussions are ongoing as part of the Primary Care Network arrangements to employ new clinical roles – these include Mental Health workers, Social Prescribers, First Contact Physio’s, Advanced Paramedics are all part of PCN plans.
The Practice are actively discussing plans to include phlebotomy services from the new building, as well as AAA screening and potential inclusion of some Community based teams. More details will be announced once plans are progressed.