St Mary’s Surgery: Building for the Future project

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Statement by the GP Partners 

The partners at St Mary’s Surgery are pleased to announce a proposed new building project to extend the surgery within the building’s existing footprint. The opportunity to expand means we look at the current site and increase the space by going up.

We have been at 37 St Mary’s Street since 1991 providing comprehensive NHS healthcare to the people of Ely and local villages. As the city of Ely has continued to thrive so our patient numbers have grown, year on year. Today, we provide healthcare services to some 15,800 patients. With plans for an additional 2,000 new houses being built across the city, demand for healthcare services will continue. Therefore, we want to do what we can now to future proof the surgery’s capacity to meet these needs. 

We know that people feel quite anxious at the moment and those experiencing health problems are particularly concerned. We want to make sure that we do not raise expectations we cannot meet or add additional anxiety to our patients. We want to provide assurance that any options being considered result in retaining what we know our patients hold dear; a city centre surgery with the needs of the patient at the heart of it. 

Due to the constraints and timelines to secure funding arrangements, we have had to go through a rigorous and speedy application process. We have not had the go ahead yet and are still in planning stages. But we are delighted that NHS England, our clinical commissioning group and East Cambridgeshire District Council are working with us and support the need to retain the city centre surgery. 

We have been really keen not to raise patient expectations in case we were unsuccessful in our conversations with the various health organisations. Suggesting improvements that could not be followed through would be more damaging than useful. We are now at a stage where we would like to share our plans with patients and would really welcome engagement. 

Building for the Future will further provide us with opportunity to expand our clinical team. This will enable us to increase the scope and capacity of our healthcare services, to the benefit of each of our patients.

This is an opportunity for the surgery to ensure it can meet new patient numbers, address health inequalities with an increasing elderly population, and meet the needs of those with long-term health conditions. It is also a great opportunity to look at how we deliver services, how we can further improve them and what new provision we can offer our patients.

The project will also enable us to increase our support and training of clinical and non-clinical staff. These are the GPs and nurses of tomorrow. We want to build for them, too.

There will need to be some minor disruption for as short a period as possible as the surgery will need to move temporarily to another site. This has not yet been confirmed but we will be engaging with patients throughout this journey. It’s not just a surgery, it’s a place we work, it is central for the community, it’s a place our patients feel safe and we have as much passion as you do about keeping those qualities and improving and offering new services.

As the premises extension application process is subject to change, we wanted to start engagement as soon as we could. We want to work with you about how best to develop a patient engagement plan, taking into  account of the current Covid situation. Last week, we met with our Patient Participation Group and local councillors and we will update you all as the process progresses.

We would like to thank everyone for their support to date and moving forwards. It is really quite exciting times for us all.

Dr Katrina Young                                            
Dr Madeleine Piggott
Dr Joanna Baker                                            
Dr Ben Miller
Dr Sam Rayner

Update on St Mary’s building project

Dr Young said: “We are very pleased to announce that planning permission has been granted subject to certain conditions, and we are grateful for the Community Infrastructure Levy contribution and the ongoing support we are receiving from East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

“We are continuing with the development of the building project in close collaboration with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, Cambridge Community Services and NHS England and planning a start date of spring 2021.

“We will update you on our progress as the project continues to develop. 

“We at St Mary’s are excited by the progress and the proposed future developments for healthcare in Ely and the surrounding villages.”