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Norwich health centre to expand

PUBLISHED: 07:19 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:16 02 July 2010

Timberhill NHS Walk-In Centre. Photo: James Bass.

Timberhill NHS Walk-In Centre. Photo: James Bass.

Dan Grimmer

The city's new GP-led centre needs more space to accommodate a growing number of patients, just nine months after it opened.

The city's new GP-led centre needs more space to accommodate a growing number of patients, just nine months after it opened.

Timber Hill Health Centre in The Mall Norwich is now seeing more than 7,000 patients a month, according to bosses from Norwich Practices, which runs the centre.

They said more than 300 patients were seen on busy days and the centre was staffed by nine nurses, three GPs and a physiotherapist. But this means the 10 consulting rooms are fully used and more are needed to cope with further expansion and the extra services health bosses want to provide.

Now they are planning on discussing extending the premises with NHS Norfolk.

Dr Tesh Patel, chairman of the board of Norwich Practices, said: "We are delighted local people have found the centre offers a quality service at a convenient location and are using it in high numbers."

The centre offers patients the chance to walk in as well as make an appointment, and when the £2m centre opened last July, there were claims it would benefit more than 75,000 patients in its first year alone.

Concerns were raised just a few months later that it was not meeting expectations, with about 4,000 patients visiting in one month, but it appears these numbers have now increased.

The old walk-in centre in Dussindale averaged about 120 patients daily during its last period of operation. The contract for the new walk-in centre anticipated a rise of 50pc but it has been much higher.

Donna Laws-Chapman, Timber Hill Health Centre manager, said: "Moving the centre to The Mall has improved access for local disadvantaged patients as well as proving an easily reached location for patients from all over Norfolk."

As well as GP and nurse appointments the centre is soon to offer minor surgery, blood testing, additional childhood immunisations and physiotherapy.

The 12,500 sq ft centre is open from 7am to 9pm, 365 days a year.

Ian Ayres, director of strategy and innovation at NHS Norfolk, said the issue not been raised with them yet but it is believed it was discussed at a meeting yesterday.

He said: "We shall work with them to ensure they can continue to offer a high level of service for walk-in and registered patients.

"We will listen to any proposal from them to expand their services and evaluate it alongside our other priorities and investment."

Ü Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Call Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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