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Empingham Medical Centre to put portable building in car park to make more room for patients

A GP surgery is to expand into its car park to make more room for patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Empingham Medical Centre put forward a case for expansion because the number of patients it cares for has grown.

Its patient list had risen from 6,251 in January 2017 to 6,920 in August 2019.

Empingham Medical Centre. Photo: Google
Empingham Medical Centre. Photo: Google

The surgery has also gained some new patients since September, when it the proposed closure of St Mary’s Medical Centre in Stamford was announced.

A report to Rutland County Council’s cabinet, which met on Tuesday, said Empingham Medical Centre “had reached a critical point being unable to provide consulting space for vital patient services”.

Coun Alan Walters (Con - Oakham NE), speaking at the meeting, said that since it had first asked East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group to support its expansion in 2019, the issue had become more pressing because of Covid-19 and the need to keep patients a safe distance apart.

An initial sum of £72,502 had been approved by Rutland County Council, so that a portable cabin can be placed in the car park to provide space for three additional consulting rooms.

A further £31,220 was requested this week because the initial quote by the cabin provider had not taken into account the building would need medical specifications such as air conditioning rather than ordinary heaters, additional hand basins, and sound-screening to protect patient confidentiality.

Coun Lucy Stephenson (Con - Uppingham) raised the issue of people potentially having to park outside the GP surgery in Main Street, Empingham, because of car park spaces being lost.

However, she and Coun Walters acknowledged that the streets in Empingham are wide, and that people parking on the street should not create any community safety implications.

Coun Walters said: “Your point is well made and I understand some residents will not be happy. However, the parish council is, I understand, supportive of this project.”

Cabinet members agreed unanimously to approve the additional £31,220 for the project, which will come from section 106 agreement money and the community infrastructure levy (CIL), both charges local authorities place on new housing and business developments to fund facilities and services needed to support them.

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