Wickham doctor’s surgery could be swamped with thousands of new patients from the huge Welborne development sparking fears that getting a GP appointment could get much harder for existing residents.
The surgery says the situation is “untenable and worrying” and is “endangering the practice’s viability”.
The news seems to be at odds with repeated and longstanding assurances from Fareham Borough Council that work on the development would not have a negative impact on existing local residents.
In December 2022 Fareham Borough Council Leader Sean Woodward said: “I’ve always said that not a brick will be laid of Welborne until all of the required infrastructure is identified and its funding is in place.”
Wickham Surgery had agreed to take patients from just the first 690 new homes – 10% of the new development – to allow for the creation of new medical facilities at the site.
But that deal included redrawing the Wickham Surgery Practice boundary to restrict other Welborne residents from adding to its patient numbers.
But Fareham and Gosport’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee has now rejected the application for the boundary change – and a parish council has warned this could lead to all Welborne residents being able to register at Wickham Surgery.
The surgery said: “This surprising decision has left the entirety of the Welborne development within the Wickham Practice Boundary, creating an untenable and worrying situation that the Surgery clearly cannot accommodate.
“Without the boundary change, the Practice is vulnerable to significant patient population fluctuations during different development phases, further endangering the practice’s viability.
“Wickham Surgery strongly urges health commissioners to agree to the boundary change immediately. Further delay is unjustifiable, unacceptable, and untenable and worrying situation .
“Wickham Surgery, a key healthcare stakeholder, has dedicated over 7 years to collaborating with Health Commissioners for a viable solution. Wickham Surgery has consistently advocated that all residents within the Welborne development should receive healthcare in its own dedicated facility.“
Wickham and Knowle Parish Council Chair Councillor Craig Manuel said: “At the planning stage of the surgery extension, concerned village residents were assured that the extension was not intended for Welborne patients.
“The planning application was approved in November 2020 despite there being a holding objection submitted by the Highways Authority which was not revealed at the Winchester City Council planning hearing.
“The concerns of residents and the Highways Authority were about the extra traffic load on local roads (inevitably Welborne patients will arrive by car) and the inadequacy of parking provision at the Surgery.
“The Surgery has requested that the Integrated Care Board (ICB) re-draw surgery “catchment” boundaries so that after the first 690 properties are occupied, no further occupants of the remaining 5700 homes at Welborne will be entitled to register at Wickham Surgery.
“The ICB has rejected this request. There is, therefore, the possibility that a number, even all, of the residents of these additional homes may be registered at Wickham Surgery.
“The Parish Council is working with the Surgery to support the case for re-drawing the boundaries and limiting the number of Welborne patients who will register in Wickham.”
Wickham Residents Association said “On behalf of residents, we intend to support any action undertaken to limit the number of additional patients, from Welborne to just that first phase.
“Both these significant developments will be monitored closely by WRA.”