We are moving …but only round the corner
“A new primary care centre in the heart of Oxford city centre.”
Cornmarket St view of Jesus’s College’s Cheng Yu Tung building – the site of the Northgate Health Centre
We will start providing NHS primary care services at the new purpose-built health centre from 8am on Monday 27 June.
Dawn of a new era for your healthcare
We are pleased to announce that we are finally moving into new modern premises at the Northgate Health Centre, 15 Market Street, Oxford. The new health centre has been built by the University of Oxford’s Jesus College, within their own brand-new development known as the ‘Cheng Building’.
We will start providing NHS primary care services at the new purpose-built health centre from 8am on Monday 27 June.
The new Northgate Health Centre will be accessible via its own entrance on Market Street. The Medical space is in the basement and there are two lifts from the ground floor entrance in addition to a wide staircase. Some of the first floor will be for our administrative teams, while the remainder of the new building will be used by Jesus College for its own research, teaching, student accommodation and some retail.
The move will allow each practice to deliver more effective patient care in modern, spacious premises, supported by a team of clinical staff including GPs, nurses, health care assistants, pharmacists and dedicated practice staff. It will also allow us to expand beyond what we have historically been able to provide – opening up opportunities to employ physiotherapists, paramedics and mental health workers to name a few. It will also allow us to look to host services that are normally only available in hospital – i.e. Cardiology, Echocardiography, Audiology and Dermatology clinics. We are very grateful to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Jesus College who have actively supported us during the long process of moving to our new location.
A change of name for the practice:
As well as a new building we are also going to have a new name!
From 27 June 2022 the practice will be known as:
Our phone number remains the same: 01865 311 811
The practice website will be altered to reflect the new name in due course. Emails will also change in time but for now email addresses are not changing.
The new health centre address is:
Northgate Health Centre
15 Market Street
It is just a few hundred meters from where we are now …but please note the new address, we don’t want patients visiting the wrong place by mistake!
Timeline for the move
We will strive to keep disruption of patient services to a minimum during the move to the new health centre.
- However, on Friday 24 June the practice will close from 12 noon to 6.30pm.
- The practice will reopen on Monday 27 June in the new Northgate Health Centre.
Logistically it is going to be quite a challenge to close on Friday in one location and open in a new one on the following Monday! We hope things will go as smoothly as possible but please bear with us if there are one or two glitches in our service around this time.
Wherever possible it will really help us if you can plan ahead to request prescriptions and avoid contacting us regarding non-urgent issues in the days immediately before and after this weekend. So, if you know you are going to run out of medication over this weekend, please try to order your repeat prescription a few days earlier. If you want to make a routine appointment for something that is not urgent, then please consider scheduling this for the week before or the week after the move.
We want to ensure we provide as much information as possible for you, regarding the move into our new premises. Please see the schedule below for the various activities taking place in June 2022 as part of the move.
|Tue 07 June 1:30 to 2:30pm||We are holding an online meeting with patients to discuss the move||Please visit the practice website for more details and to find the Microsoft Teams link to join the meeting.||The meeting is an opportunity for each practice to explain why they are moving, and the benefits for patients. There will be Q&A session.|
|w/c 20 June||We start to move into Northgate Health Centre||Gradual move during the week to allow for testing of equipment and new facilities||Please bear in mind that we may be busier than usual this week.|
|Friday 24 June – 12noon||Start of the ‘move weekend’||At 12 noon the three practices will be closed (including reception) to allow staff to start moving equipment.||From 12 noon our phones will be answered by a triage service. If you need urgent advice, they will arrange for you to speak to a doctor, otherwise you will be asked to book an appointment for the following week.|
|Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June||‘Move weekend’. We will be working hard to set everything up ready for Monday morning.||We will be closed as normal||Contact NHS 111 or NHS 111 online for support and advice over the weekend|
|Monday 27 June||We will be open in the Northgate Health Centre – please don’t visit the practice on Monday unless you have an appointment!||We will be trying our best to get everything up and running but please bear with us if things are not going smoothly. Please do not contact us for routine matters if it can wait for a few days.||Some services might be operating on reduced capacity during the first week of opening in the new health centre. We would ask patients to help us by only contacting us for urgent matters during the first few days.|
Meeting with patients to talk about the move on Tuesday 7th June at 1.30pm
Before we move, we are holding a meeting (online) for patients of all three practices so you can find out what to expect and so we can answer any questions you may have. We want to hear from you, so please do come along. The meeting is to be held using Microsoft Teams.
Registration for the meeting has now closed but you can still join by clicking the link below
You can join a Microsoft Teams meeting anytime, from any device (computer, tablet or smartphone), whether or not you have a Teams account. If you don't have an account, follow these steps to join as a guest.
We will record the online meeting and make it available to view afterwards.
Facilities at the health centre
- All our clinical facilities where GPs, health practitioners and practice staff will see patients are located in the basement.
- In addition, the shared reception and patient waiting areas are located here.
- In total there are 27 consulting and treatment rooms for the three practices, and a minor surgery suite of three rooms.
- The three practices will share the entrance which leads on to Market Street.
- Stairs and lifts will enable patients to access reception and the consulting rooms.
- The view into the ground floor is simple, attractive and uncluttered.
- With lots of glass and easy views through the building to create an airy feel.
- This accommodates our administration and back-office areas with workstations for staff and management, a kitchen, records storage, toilets and the plant room to heat and power the practices.
Why we think you’ll love it:
- The new premises will see us expand in terms of the physical space we have. Instead of just the seven rooms that we have now, we will have ten. This will enable us to offer more appointments and to host more services. For example, in our current premises at 28 Beaumont Street we can often struggle with access to the ground-floor clinical room (also the smallest in the practice…).
- The clinical rooms are large and have a clutter-free layout which makes accessibility and examination of patients easy. Some of the rooms in our current premises are extremely cramped and restrictive and were clearly not originally designed with modern medicine in mind. At Northgate Health Centre all our rooms will have a curtained off couch areas for greater privacy and generally improved ergonomics for all.
- Having more space will mean we can employ additional staff, to increase the range of service we provide. For example, in our premises at 28 Beaumont Street it is extremely difficult for us to accommodate extra personnel. But in Northgate Health Centre we have the space to be able to provide (in time) more roles, such as a mental wellbeing worker, a clinical pharmacist, a social prescriber, a physiotherapist, a paramedic, a care coordinator, a midwife, a health visitor, a dietician, and more.
- Furthermore, we are actively looking to host services that are traditionally only available in hospital directly in the heart of Oxford City Centre – i.e., cardiology services, echocardiography, dermatology, audiology and more.
Why are we moving?
It has been long recognised that our current practices are too small. We have been actively seeking more suitable premises in central Oxford for well over a decade. Whilst the current premises offer a characterful atmosphere it has become increasingly untenable to operate modern healthcare from what were ostensibly Georgian town houses. The stairs are narrow and steep and access for anyone who struggles with their mobility is hazardous. Wheelchair access is even worse and ground floor treatment room/medical room space is severely limited – often leading to queues when everyone does not run perfectly to time, or an emergency necessitates taking up the ground floor clinical room.
In Northgate, all our services will be available on one floor. The single staircase is wide, open and we have two spacious lifts for anyone who wishes to avoid the stairs. The entrance from the street level is seamless, and the building has been designed throughout with the turning circle of a wheelchair in mind.
We will also have two very well-equipped minor surgery rooms, with clinical grade lighting which will enable us to offer a wider range of health services. Over time we hope these much-improved facilities will allow us to attract clinicians from the hospital to offer clinics in Northgate that will avoid the need for longer trips to the JR or Churchill hospitals.
The new building will also be safer. In addition to the state-of-the-art fire detection system, we have an integrated sprinkler system, a smoke extraction system and a range of early warning and protective systems to make it a much safer building in which to provide care and treatment to patients. We also have an air-filtration system running throughout the building providing 6 ‘air changes’ per hour increasing to 15 per hour in the minor surgery suite. This is a major benefit in the context of airborne and infectious disease management (i.e., Covid 19) and is a huge upgrade from our current ‘state of the art system’ being Georgian windows – each time we open them we risk compromising confidentiality (overheard consultations) as well as bringing in road noise, pollution and usually cold air!
Our current premises are characterful but increasingly problematic – in our new Northgate Health Centre we will no longer need to contend with plumbing and wiring looms that have been upgraded and replaced piece-meal over 100 years. At 28
Beaumont St our ceilings degraded and fell recently which impacted on the administrative rooms/back-office running of the practice – made far worse by the fact that they needed to be replaced in kind (lath and plaster) which is a much more lengthy process than modern ceiling repair.
How will the move benefit patients?
- Improve access to GPs and other health professionals by increasing the number of appointments (both online and face-to-face) for patients.
- Health care delivered in modern, more spacious and accessible premises.
- Working more closely with two other practices in the same health centre means we can team up where it is more efficient and effective to do so, making it possible to offer services that would not be viable for one small practice alone.
- We hope that the brand-new facilities will attract other users, such as specialists who can normally only be seen in hospital, and thus allow patients to get more of their care from the practice.
- The new facility will help us to realise many of the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan, which sees practices integrating their care with that of other teams and to join forces with other services, to provide a better, broader range of care in the community. This won’t happen overnight, but we are now very well placed to develop along these lines. It simply would never have been possible had we stayed where we were.
Accessing the health centre
Northgate Health Centre is conveniently located in the heart of the city (and less than a five-minute walk from our current premises). It is well served by bus routes from across the city and just a short walk from most city centre bus stops. Bicycle racks will be available on Market Street.
As with the practises’ previous locations, there are no car parking facilities at the new health centre, although ambulance access will be preserved.
Those who prefer to travel by car may still do so but there are no car parking facilities at the health centre (for either GPs, staff, patients or the public). If you used to park on Beaumont St, St Giles or King Edward St you can continue to do so, although it will then involve a short walk of 300 metres or so to reach the practice. There is also still parking at the Westgate Centre and Gloucester Green as well as on-street parking on St Giles and Broad Street.
Frail patients and those with mobility issues can be dropped off and collected by a family member, friend or taxi close to the entrance to the health centre in Market Street. However congestion on Market Street around the covered market is already severe and this is only to be recommended for those who have no alternative. Blue badge holders can park in disabled parking bays on nearby Broad Street and St Michael’s Street which offer 14 dedicated parking spaces for people with disabilities.
The health centre entrance on Market Street is NOT currently in the Zero Emission Zone
- The health centre entrance on Market Street is NOT currently in the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) being piloted by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to improve ‘air quality, cut carbon emissions, and move towards zero emission travel in the city.’
- To access the Northgate Health Centre via Market Street your vehicle will not incur ZEZ charges (for the time being).
- However, this may change when the council extend the ZEZ (which they plan to do in the summer of 2023 after a consultation process later this year).
How to arrive at Northgate Health Centre
- Patients are encouraged to use public transport, to cycle or walk to the practice in line with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council’s travel vision for the city.
- There is nearby paid for parking on King Edward Street, Beaumont Street, St Giles and Broad Street (please check details of the Zero Emission Zone scheme – see details above) as well as a number of carparks across the city. Most of these are just a short walk from the health centre.
- Market Steet will remain open to vehicles to allow appropriate patients to be dropped off close to the practice either by a family member, friend or by taxi. Ambulances retain access to respond to any emergencies as well.
- The practices are purchasing a small number of wheelchairs which can be used to assist anyone who is struggling to reach the entrance on foot. Please contact your practice for more details.
It should be acknowledged that council proposals to extend the limits of the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) may affect you regardless of whether we are in Northgate Health Centre or 28 Beaumont Street. Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council will be consulting on proposals around the ZEZ during the summer, so please do take part and share your views with them.
Published: May 26, 2022