A new NHS GP surgery is "desperately needed" in one of Norwich's fastest growing areas, a councillor has claimed.

It is understood health bosses and community leaders are currently in talks about setting up a new practice in Hethersett.

It comes as the Humbleyard Practice - which has sites in Cringleford, Hethersett and Mulbarton - struggles to cope with soaring demand and a patient list of more than 21,750. 

Norwich Evening News: The Humbleyard Practice in CringlefordThe Humbleyard Practice in Cringleford (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Kathryn Cross, who represents Hethersett at South Norfolk Council, said she was supportive of a second practice in the village and urged stakeholders to get it "up and running".

"This would be a real asset to the area," she told this newspaper.

"Hethersett needs it desperately

"I've seen a draft of what it could look like, and I would want it to also include a pharmacy.

"I'm looking forward to a planning application being submitted. 

Norwich Evening News: Cllr Kathryn CrossCllr Kathryn Cross (Image: Kathryn Cross)

"But of course there is no point in having a fabulous new surgery if there is no staff to work there.

"So we need to make sure it is up and running and fully staffed."

According to a joint letter published in 2022 by the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, South Norfolk Council and the Humbleyard Practice, "all three parties [were] working together" on the project. 

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It stated: "The practice is already oversubscribed and is working with the ICB to ensure it has the premises and workforce to serve the current patient list and meet the future demand of the proposed 1,700-2,000 homes still to be built in its catchment area."

The plans come as the village and its surrounding areas continue to struggle with a growing strain on vital infrastructure caused by a rapid housing boom.

Norwich Evening News: Hethersett has seen rapid growth in recent yearsHethersett has seen rapid growth in recent years (Image: Denise Bradley)

The Humbleyard Practice recently said this growth was responsible for the Care Quality Commission downgrading the quality of its services - arguing a surge of patient numbers had resulted in falling standards.

Between the 2011 and 2021 Census, Hethersett's population swelled from 5,648 to 7,021, while Cringleford's grew from 3,560 to 5,386 and Mulbarton's from 3,521 to 4,019.

This growth has since prompted local councillors to call on developers to stop building unless they can provide services such as GPs, dentists and schools.

The letter continued: "While the project will need all parties to work together, South Norfolk Council is proactively working with all partners to secure an appropriate services location in Hethersett together with the necessary finance to construct a GP practice.

"Detailed planning permission and commercial discussions will be required but the most significant hurdles have been cleared.

"The partners will be engaging with the local community as the project develops to ensure that the needs and views of the community are considered in the proposals."