Health centre expansion for village set to gain 3,000 more patients

The new expansion at Botesdale Health Centre has been opened. Picture: Mid Suffolk Council

The new expansion at Botesdale Health Centre has been opened. Picture: Mid Suffolk Council - Credit: Mid Suffolk Council

A £500,000 expansion to a health centre set to get 3,000 extra patients has been opened to help a Norfolk-Suffolk border village cope with its rapidly expanding population.

The new two-storey extension at the Botesdale Health Centre includes two new GP and two new health care assistant consulting rooms, a triage room and a training-meeting room.

The health centre currently has a patient list size in excess of 9,000 and with planned development of around 1,000 houses over the next five years it is estimated the patient list will grow to around 12,000.

Kevin Bernard, practice manager at the Botesdale Health Centre, said: "With an estimated 30pc increase in the number of patients who will be registered at the practice over the next few years, it was important that action was taken to ensure we can better meet the anticipated demand."

The increased capacity will allow the practice to explore options in delivering more health services locally, with palliative care and dementia support services seen as priorities in a community with an increasingly ageing population.

The new meeting room will enable the centre to forge greater links with local health and patient groups as well as offer extra space to deliver staff training to ensure the continued focus on high-quality care for patients.

An official opening ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Dr Tim Cooke, who retired earlier this year after almost three decades as a health care professional in the village near Diss, and who welcomed the completion of the project which he conceived while a GP partner at the centre.

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The Friends of Botesdale Health Centre also worked tirelessly in fundraising efforts to support equipping and furnishing the £552,000 extension, as well as NHS England, Babergh Council and Mid Suffolk Council, and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mr Bernard said: "The extra space is much needed and it is certainly pleasing to have reached this stage where we can now look to the future with more confidence.

"I'd like to thank all our patients for their support over the last few years and the wider community for recognising the benefits in having an expanded practice."