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Grove Medical Centre, Felixstowe, Suffolk

Project: 4 GP Partners/Pharmacy/ Community Services/Minor Surgery

Size: 1540 sq m

Commenced on-site: March 2013

Completed: March 2014

GPI Project Director: David Sadler, GPI Northern Regional Director

Architectural Design: James Totty Partnership

Construction: RG Carters

Employer’s Agent and CDM Coordinator: Summers Inman

M&E Consultants: Elementa

The impressive new Grove Medical Centre provides state-of-the-art accommodation for a wide range of NHS services

The purpose built facility includes an on-site pharmacy

Set within extensive grounds, the development sensitively blends with the surrounding landscape

The atrium provides natural lighting and visually integrates ground and first floors

This has been a much celebrated project by the practice and local community, including the Lady Mayor, local MP and Under-Secretary of State for Health

It is a fantastic modern, fit for purpose centre that will provide a range of high quality services to local people as well as providing a high quality environment for the staff who will work within it.”

Mark Marshall
NHS Property Services

Ground Floor, The Grove Surgery, Felixstowe

Ground Floor
Click on plan to enlarge

First Floor, The Grove Surgery, Felixstowe

First Floor
Click on plan to enlarge

The Central Surgery, Felixstowe, had been at the heart of the community for many years, providing high quality Primary Care services from a town centre location. The single storey building was built in 1966 and various adaptations and extensions were added over the years. When GPI met Dr Feltwell for this first time, it was clear the practice had out-grown its current premises. Temporary accommodation was being used on a permanent basis and the local NHS estate strategy reported that the premises were ‘cold, decaying and leaking’. In fact, based on NHS guidelines, the previous premises were over three times too small for a 5 GP, 16,000 patient practice. In summary, the buildings were over utilised and worn-out.

The situation had become so serious that services were suffering as a result. The practice could not provide a full range of enhanced services and clinics could not run simultaneously, simply because there was no room. Patients attending the surgery with minor injuries had to stay in the waiting area until a spare room became available and there was only one patient toilet in the entire building. The patient experience was not reflective of the aims and aspirations of a modern, high quality NHS.

The partners had been working for several years to develop new premises and Dr Feltwell was identified as the lead GP to take the project forward. GPI were therefore appointed as preferred developers in 2011. It soon became clear that the practice had a lot of energy, motivation and a vision for the future of Primary Care in Felixstowe.

GPI worked closely with Dr Feltwell, practice staff and commissioners from NHS Suffolk to develop a comprehensive business case. As a result, the project team were able to clarify their aspirations for a service that was able to be innovative, could provide future flexibility and had space to accommodate partnership working from premises that acted as an enabler for future service development. As a result of the business case process it became clear that, in practice, this would mean developing services to host Central Surgery, Community Services, Mental Health Services and a purpose built Minor Surgery Suite. It was important to the practice that they could work with other healthcare providers ‘under one roof’. The business case was submitted to NHS Suffolk’s Board and the project received funding from NHS Suffolk, who were able to invest monies from the sale of the Bartlet hospital and the local deanery provided capital for GP training space.

GPI were also required to find an appropriate site. After several months of making enquiries a green field site only 500 metres from the existing surgery was identified. As well as being so close to the former premises, the site was next to a local authority car park and accessed from the main road to Felixstowe; providing excellent access and a tree-lined plot only minutes from the town-centre. However, the site was occupied by a few four legged residents and it was the first time the company has ever re-located donkeys as part of a Primary Care project! GPI ensured they found a suitable home. Works for the newly named Grove Medical Centre and Pharmacy began in January of 2013.

The completed development provides state-of-the-art premises that have been built in accordance with the latest design and technical guidance. Environmental sustainability was a priority for all stakeholders and the project achieved a BREEAM score of ‘Excellent’, demonstrating its impressive green credentials.

The project has won much praise from the local community. Speaking on behalf of NHS Property Services, Mark Marshall remarked:

“It is a fantastic modern, fit for purpose centre that will provide a range of high quality services to local people as well as providing a high quality environment for the staff who will work within it.”

Similarly, the local Clinical Commissioning Group are delighted with the project. Dr Mark Shenton, CCG Chairman explains:

“Our CCG welcomes the building of this new medical centre in Felixstowe. Local people will now be able to access a wider range of health care services in a brand new, state-of-the-art building.”

GPI were also pleased to assist the practice in hosting an official opening ceremony, which was attended by Dr Poulter, Under-Secretary of State for Health and the Local MP Dr Therese Coffey. Dr Poulter, a resident of Suffolk, suggested:

“This is how the NHS should be – it’s the best of the NHS. We are very proud and lucky to have this in Suffolk.”

Dr Feltwell suggested the success of the project had:

Largely been due to our development partner GPI, they have given us much help and advice at all stages of the project.”

The contrast from Central surgery to Grove Medical Centre is summed up in the words ‘cold, decaying and leaking’ to ‘this is how the NHS should be’ and GPI are proud to have been the development partners for this successful project.


David Sadler,
Regional Director

T: 01924 299 111

Email: david.sadler@gpgroup.co.uk