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Why You Need Resources Close To You, To Shape A Vision

We cannot work in silos, for any surgery initiative to flourish the assistance from others is important to create a successful project.

It is always a challenging, but enlightening process to understand how an environment, a locality and a community interact with each other. This is such a critical aspect to analyse at the beginning of any medical centre development project. When delivering a new medical facility, before any work commences their needs to be an appreciation of the concept of community and understanding the aspirations of others. Not just the GPs themselves, but the wider area and the various stakeholder groups.

This Is Not One Size Fits All

Lets be clear, when it comes to a new medical centre development, one size does not fit all. 

What is right for one area may not necessarily be comfortable for another.

When discussion builds momentum for a GP and a provider of a primary care centre, the conversation has to be suited with someone who has experience, interaction and the ability to develop community integration with a number of people. For any project to work there has to be a complete understanding of the issues and aspirations of others, as opposed to finding a solution via a ready-made template ie. using exactly the same format from a previous project.

When a project commences, every aspect of understanding what a GP wants, how they want it and the best place for them and their community has to be defined before any contractual work. GPs understand their patients, know their area and are able to define where services need to be delivered. For the aspirations of a new medical centre to become a reality, a GP requires someone who will listen, interact and encourage a joint working relationship.

An Example Of Encouraging The Conversation

An example of a conversation helping to generate momentum for a new medical centre is evident in Cowes, Isle Of Wight. This takes on the form of localised interaction.

The GPs were trying to locate a new site, but to no avail. They were encouraged to talk to patients. During a conversation with a patient it transpired that they had a piece of land that they were advised would not be developed. The land was next to a reservoir; it was overgrown and also adjacent to a cemetery. The location is now home to West Cowes Medical Centre with plenty of parking for visitors. This all started with a conversation with an individual. A prime example of the encouragement of community development and using the allies that may not be instantly recognisable.

People that are involved in the development of a medical centre are invariably those who live in the local area, their children go to school and have a strong sense of attachment.

Those involved in the delivery of a new surgery, it becomes their surgery, not a contractor with no affiliation with a local area.

As a result the surgery becomes looked after and attended to.

The Association With Others

The commitment from others is vital. They are engaged in the construction, as well as from initial design. A key aspect of the Charles Higgins Partnership belief is to select the best consultants from a local area and encourage continuous engagement.

Another example by creating allies and relationships from the local area has been the project in Sturminster Newton. The 7.5 acre livestock market in the centre of the town has now been reinvigorated as a community hub. Read more about this project in the ‘creating value for communities’ article. This presents an example of liaising with the public to deliver what they would want. It took 18 months to obtain the contract to develop the livestock market, this was by community involvement, listening to others and working in partnership.

This is an approach we believe in by working with those who have an influence within a local area and bringing in others who can help shape a vision. The Shelley Manor Medial Centre also followed this principal.

It all starts with a conversation. It would be good to hear from you. Call Jon on 01202 744990 or email jon@charleshiggins.co.uk

Image at the top of the article courtesy of Flickr


“To end my working days in such a place considering that 31 years ago when I started we worked from two very small rooms. It’s been magnificent.”

Dr Geoff Walder, Retired Senior Partner, Lilliput Surgery, Sandbanks

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© 2013 Charles Higgins