Frequently Asked Questions:
Primary Care Services at Upper Lighthorne (Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath) New Settlement
This document provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the work NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board (the ICB) is carrying out to assess the impact of housing development at Upper Lighthorne (UL). Specifically, appraising the different potential options available to ensure that the primary care needs of the growing population of UL can be met. This document is shared on the ICB’s website.
An online survey to gather feedback on the options is open for comment until end of the day on Wednesday 14th December 2022, you can access that here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ULPrimarycaresurvey. A paper copy is available on request.
Questions and feedback should be directed to: email@example.com
The ICB has engaged gbp to further develop an appraisal of the potential options available to ensure that the needs of the growing population of Upper Lighthorne (UL) in relation to access to Primary Care services can be met, building on work already undertaken and considering the changing model of general practice being driven by the NHS Long Term Plan.
As part of this phase of work, gbp will develop some of the more technical aspects of the appraisal relating to commercial and financial considerations. The ICB has also asked gbp to seek the views of a wider group of local stakeholders so that these can be fed into the detailed analysis of the different options available.
The output of this work will be delivered by gbp at the end of 2022 and will take the form of an independent and robust report, providing the ICB with a comprehensive appraisal of the different options, informed by the findings from the stakeholder engagement and the earlier work undertaken. On the basis of the gbp report, the ICB will determine which option will be taken forward to the next stage of work, which is to develop an outline business case. The report will provide the required information to partially complete the outline business case.
The overall uncertainty regarding the timing and quantum of housing delivery and population growth is one key challenge. The Stratford-on-Avon District Council Core Strategy predicts that the new settlement at UL will deliver 3,000 dwellings over a timeline that extends beyond 2031. The housing delivery trajectory has changed throughout the time since the Core Strategy was published, partly as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic conditions also have a significant impact on the housing market and have obviously changed over recent months. Another challenge is understanding how many of the people who buy houses on the UL new settlement will need to register with a local GP practice as some will continue to be registered with their existing practice.
The uncertainty regarding housing delivery in turn drives uncertainty regarding the availability of funding from developers (so-called ‘Section 106 funding’). The ICB is reliant on this funding to deliver any infrastructure. The Section 106 funding for the new settlement at UL comes from two separate planning applications and comes forward in tranches within each application linked to housing occupations.
The timeline to get to a point where the full amount of Section 106 funding is available is not clear at this stage. gbp will be undertaking engagement with the developers to better understand this and to explore potential ways to mitigate the uncertainty.
Another key consideration is the government’s long-term strategy for the NHS. Alongside the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is driving a changing model of general practice service delivery. Groups of GP practices (called Primary Care Networks) are increasingly working together, and with others (providers of community services, the voluntary sector, etc), at larger scale. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in driving rapid adoption of digital approaches to triaging and consulting within general practice. The government has set out its commitment for “digital-first primary care [to be an option] for every patient” and requires every GP practice to develop a “core digital offer”.
The ICB has consistently been clear that there are different potential solutions available to ensure that the needs of the growing population of UL in relation to access to Primary Care services can be met, these are:
- Expanding the capacity of established local GP practices whose practice areas include the UL settlement site;
- A new GP practice on the Upper Lighthorne settlement site with no expansion of the current GP practices.
- A ‘hybrid solution’ which means expanding the capacity of some local GP practices and, potentially at a future point in time, a new building on the UL settlement site.
The ICB is aware that some stakeholders favour the development of a Primary Care practice on the UL settlement site. This option will be appraised in further detail, alongside the others set out above. Amongst the matters that the ICB will need to consider are what size any new building would need to be (this will depend in part on whether it will accommodate other Providers and services, not just a GP practice) and what population mass needs to be achieved for the opening of a new building to make economic sense.
If the on-site solution option is identified as the preferred route to take forward (see question 2 above), the ICB will need to determine its procurement approach (its approach to commissioning the associated service contract) in line with its procurement policy and relevant legislative requirements. Ultimately the ICB needs to ensure a fair, open and transparent process. At this stage, it would be unfair for the ICB to engage with any Provider/GP practice on its proposal to the exclusion of other potential Providers in market
Some of the options under consideration (see question 4 above) will involve travel. The stakeholder engagement that gbp will be undertaking will provide an opportunity for people to feedback their thoughts, questions and concerns on the different options, including regarding travel. As highlighted above (see question 3), we expect there to be a continued focus on developing digital channels for patient access to general practice services over the coming years, including through telephone and video consultations – meaning that the need for travel will be reduced.
As set out above (see question 4) the ICB has consistently been clear that there are different potential solutions available. This position is reflected in the Section 106 agreement that was agreed in 2017 and consequently is known by the developers. The ICB is committed to maintaining engagement with the developers and Stratford-on-Avon District Council as it continues its work to determine a preferred solution. gbp will engage with the developers as part of the work that they are undertaking.