A new ‘Health Hub’ proposed for Elephant Park by building developers Lendlease could mean closure for existing general practice (GP) surgeries on Princess Street in Elephant and Manor Place in Walworth.
As part of the Section 106 agreements signed by Lendlease and the council, the developer must pay a ‘Health Contribution’.
This could include the provision of a new health facility, but planning documents and previous Lendlease statements indicate that a new Health Hub could replace existing surgeries.
Both Manor Place and the Princess Street surgery are run by Nexus Health Group, who are in turn commissioned by the South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
In a letter from Lendlease to Southwark Council, the property developer said the Health Hub would “serve the population at Elephant & Castle and the existing people currently served by the Princess Street and Manor Place GP Surgeries”.
Southwark Law Centre, a legal advice provider, also received a Lendlease statement via a planning officer saying: “The Health Hub will have general practice at their core (Princess Street GP Surgery and Manor Place Surgery), and the CCG is seeing them as an opportunity to review existing practice premises nearby…”
Although the proposed Health Hub hasn’t yet received planning permission, there are fears there has been a lack of consultation with local residents and patients so far.
Harpreet Aujla, a solicitor at Southwark Law Centre, said: “We are concerned about the lack of important information about how the proposed health hub will operate, and what it will replace in Walworth.
“There are also details in the memorandum between Lendlease, South East London Clinical Commissioning Group and Southwark Council that there will be a lease for 30 years, which is of course not that long.
“These details have not been included as part of the consultation, which is a huge omission. We are also aware that CCGs do have a duty to consult on the development and consideration of proposal which would have an impact on the manner in which the services are delivered to individuals or the range of health services available to them. Why is this not being done here?”
A spokesperson for NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The development of a new, high quality health hub in Elephant and Castle will help to support communities in the area to keep well.
“We are working with partners to ensure one of the services within the hub will be a GP practice, which will include a wide range of primary care and community services.
“One possible option we will be engaging on is potential care relocation from a current nearby practice. There have been no decisions taken and we will engage with everyone affected ahead of any changes.”
A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “We’re in discussions with the NHS South-East London Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the opportunity for a first class health hub at Elephant Park.
“A health hub would respond to the significant increase in population in the Elephant & Castle area, and a community consultation to develop the right mix of services will be managed by the NHS.”