How will the practices be accessed?
The practices will be accessed via an entrance on Market Street (almost opposite the Boots side entrance) and not from Cornmarket. There will be a staircase that leads to the main clinical and reception areas and two large lifts to accommodate anyone in a wheelchair or those who may struggle with stairs.
Will there be bike parking available at Northgate House?
Yes, there is a planned redevelopment of Market Street linked to the development of Northgate House. As part of this, adequate bike parking will be made available.
Will car parking be available at Northgate House?
Car parking is not available on site (for patients or staff). An ambulance drop- off point outside the practices will allow emergency access and we hope that Market St will remain open to vehicles so that those with poor mobility can be dropped off close to the practice either by a relative or by taxi. When such visits are to be made, patients are asked as far as possible to telephone the practice in advance of their arrival, so that a member of staff may be on hand at the entrance to offer assistance and/or a wheelchair if required by patients who are permanently or temporarily mobility impaired. Patients who are able to do so will be encouraged to use public transport, to cycle or walk to the practice. Those who need to drive will still be able to park on King Edward Street or Beaumont Street as they do now, and provided they can walk the final few hundred metres to Market Street. There is also parking on nearby Broad Street.
Where is the nearest disabled parking bay?
Blue badge holders are entitled to park in disabled parking bays. Broad Street, Turl Street and St Michael’s street offer dedicated parking spaces for people with disabilities needing to visit the practice (provided they can walk a 100m or so), as shown on the map below. However these are not reserved for the exclusive use of patients visiting Northgate and if all such spaces are full some disabled visitors may park on single or double-yellow lines where there are no restrictions and following the guidance set out on your blue badge.
Will there be a lift in the new building?
Yes, there will be two lifts in the new building to allow access to the different floors for patients or staff with mobility issues.
Will practice staff be consulted in the design of the facilities?
Yes, the GPs of the three practices have been involved in the planning and design of these facilities from the outset to ensure the new development meets the needs of the practice. We are currently in the process of consulting with all staff within each practice to optimise the design and operation of the new building.
Will patients be consulted in the design of the facilities?
We very much welcome the involvement of patients in the design of the facilities moving forward and it is essential that patients are absolutely central to the design. We will be consulting with our Patient Participation Groups (PPG) over the coming months to ensure the new facilities meet the needs of our patients. Additionally, individual patients who would like to input further into the design are welcome to contact the individual Practices Managers.
How will you ensure that the practices retain their personal, non-medical atmosphere?
As small practices we really value our individual identities and recognise that part of that comes from working out of much loved characterful period properties. We recognise that many patients really value the welcoming and personal nature of our existing buildings and our staff have very much enjoyed working in these surroundings over many years. We are keen as individual practices to maintain this atmosphere and feel when we move. We will be considering carefully the layout and interior décor so that we can emulate this as much as possible in our move. We would be very pleased to also hear from patients with ideas as to how we can retain this as much as possible!
Will your staff change when you move buildings?
We hope that when we move, as many of our current staff as possible stay with us and continue to work with us in the new building.
Will there still be separate telephone numbers for each practice?
Yes, the practices will retain their current phone numbers.
Will I still be able to see the same GP?
Yes, there are no anticipated changes in the clinical staff, including GPs, associated with the move to Northgate House.
Will there still be continuity of care?
Yes, very much so. Each of our practices places a high importance on continuity of care and we will do all we can to maintain this after our move. This is a move to new facilities, not a change of personnel or principles.
Will the practices be merging?
At present, there are no plans for the practices to merge, although we will be reviewing areas where we can work jointly together for the benefit of patients.
Why aren’t you planning to merge at this point?
We are three like-minded small practices, who share very similar values and ethos. We are keen to work alongside each other and look at ways of how we can provide the best care for patients. However, at present our priority is ensuring a smooth relocation for all three practices to this new building. Although there are of course some advantages in merging, at present we are keen to retain our individual identities.
Is this move designed to cut costs?
No, not all. This move represents a significant and substantial investment to the NHS and represents the importance that the local NHS have placed in providing high quality care for patients of Oxford. We are very grateful to the local Clinical Commissioning Group for the huge amount of support that they have dedicated to the scheme so far, to secure the future of our practices.
Why aren’t you renovating your current buildings?
Unfortunately the current buildings which we occupy are Grade II listed buildings, which are leased. This means that any alterations to our existing premises to improve their functionality are really not possible. There is no option to extend these buildings and so we cannot add more space, which means we will be unable to accommodate new staff.
Are there any other options available, other than this location?
The three practices have been looking for new premises for many years. This is the first project that we have been able to move significantly forward with. As part of our review, a full options appraisal has been carried out and there are no other buildings, spaces or land within a reasonable distance of our current location that we are able to move to. Unfortunately land in central Oxford is at an absolute premium.
Will the new facilities be COVID 19 Secure?
We have a team of architects and design engineers who are extremely familiar with the requirements for new GP Premises and Healthcare Facilities and are ensuring that the building will be of the highest standards, particularly in relation to the requirements for COVID 19. In particular, careful consideration has been given to air change rates and ventilation within the building to safeguard its use during a pandemic.
Would the new facilities allow additional investigations and treatment?
We are exploring the options to deliver additional services, for example physiotherapy, mental health services and additional investigations (such as Ultrasound Examinations) at our new premises. We are very much looking to recruit new staff to provide these services, once we have somewhere to put them! The NHS Plan which sets the future strategy for primary care is very keen to see a range of services brought out of hospital and closer to where patients live. GP Practices are the ideal choice for many of these services and our new premises gives us the opportunity to realistically consider and accommodate these changes, in ways that would simply not be possible in our current buildings due to their restricted size. The NHS plan also sets the agenda for Primary Care Networks (PCNs) which are arrangements through which practices can work together to do things that they would otherwise be too small to deliver. One of the key strategic aims for PCNs is to lead on integration of services between providers of primary care, social care and community health. Again an adequate building is a necessary precursor to making this happen.
Will there be separate waiting rooms for each practice?
There will be two main waiting areas rather than three. This is a much more efficient use of space than having multiple waiting rooms, and allows us to gain a greater quantity of clinical space from which to provide care and treatment to patients.
Will there be a pharmacy in the building?
No – given that we are located within ‘spitting distance’ from Boots, Superdrug and Cowans pharmacies, we would not be allowed to open a pharmacy. However, in terms of convenience for patients the practice will be closer to a wider range of pharmacies than almost any other practice we can think of.
Will there be additional services such as sexual health?
There will be additional services coming on board as we get embedded in our new facilities. We see physiotherapy and mental health services as the priorities to address first. There is a very good sexual health service in East Oxford, the funding arrangements for which means that it has access to a much great range of facilities and so we have no plans to duplicate these at present. But that is something that we could consider in the future.
Will there be extended hours available at the practice?
Yes, the practices will continue to offer their current level of extended hours.
Will you be providing regular updates on progress?
Yes, we plan to provide regular communications to all our patients regarding the progress of our development and the planned move. Check our practice websites for the latest information.