Whitley Bay GP practice could relocate despite initial opposition

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A Whitley Bay GP practice could be relocated and modernised if planning proposals are approved by North Tyneside Council.

Planning applications have been submitted to the local authority to construct a new GP practice on open space on Newsteads Drive, Whitley Bay.

The practice, if approved, would replace Beaumont Park Medical Centre, on Hepscott Drive.

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According to documents submitted to the council, the current building is no longer “fit for purpose” and struggles to meet the needs of patients, largely as a result of its confined size. One treatment room is recorded at only five square metres.

Land at Newsteads Drive.Land at Newsteads Drive.
Land at Newsteads Drive.

A planning statement states: “The existing premises are now 70% undersized against NHS standards, are no longer fit for purpose or in line with current NHS design or space standards and are prohibitive to service delivery to the patients. Furthermore, the layout is at risk of being detrimental to being able to ensure patient confidentiality given size and proximity of consulting rooms and adjacency to the waiting room.

“Alongside the primary structural defects of the building, the internal infrastructure needing repairs (including broken heating, windows and roof) and the identified space constraints, the premises also has several deficiencies and does not comply with NHS guidelines for providing safe and effective health care provision.”

The practice has also struggled to retain staff as the current state of the building restricts training. The practice had to close its patient list in July, totalling over 6,000, last year as it was no longer in a place to accept new patients.

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The new facility is estimated to take up around 16% of the open space in Newsteads Drive, according to new planning documents. If built, the medical hub will be two storeys high and include updated and larger waiting rooms, physiotherapy suites and improved treatment rooms.

Staff had previously attempted to obtain land on Newsteads Drive to secure a new facility in May 2022. The plan was, however, rejected by North Tyneside Council following a public outcry over the potential loss of green space.

However, following the closure of the patient list, and worries about the long-term viability of the practice, Deputy Mayor Carl Johnson said, in December 2022, the local authority may have to “reconsider its position”.

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