Lynemouth Medical Centre

Lynemouth Medical Centre

Lynemouth, Northumberland, England

Wellway Medical Group and Northumberland NHS Care Trust

Greenfield, Rural

Private equity/debt

A Medical Centre built to serve the local community in Lynemouth.

Our time in Lynemouth was spent on a pioneering project to help address many of the residual problems associated with a coal mining environment. This deprived area of the North East also had a higher than average population of smokers and people on the diabetes disease register, so there was a clear need for modern premises to service many complex health and social problems.

Northumberland NHS Care Trust was a very early adopter of the opportunities that a third party developer such as Prime could bring. At that time the NHS was shifting to locally integrated systems, and GPs from Wellway Medical Group were keen to provide accommodation for all general medical services and community healthcare in the area.

Working in partnership with the GPs and the Trust, we were tasked with relocating Lynemouth Surgery, which was based in a converted semi-detached house that was inadequate for modern primary care services due to its size and limited parking. It had a patient list of 3,200 patients split between the villages of Lynemouth, Ellington and the surrounding area – and this was set to rise following plans for a new housing development.

Prime focused on creating a new building to accommodate a 4-5 GP practice on a small piece of land to the western boundary of Lynemouth owned by Northumberland County Council, but there were some complicated land assembly issues to overcome along the way: British Coal had a restrictive covenant that prevented its use for any other purpose than recreational/open land; the site featured a wayleave serving an existing electricity sub-station, and a small section of the property formed part of the adopted highway which required a licence from the highway’s authority permitting us to carry out landscaping works within this area.

Prime’s experience of negotiating with key stakeholders was key to moving the project forward. With the mining industry winding down, Prime secured a relaxation of the British Coal covenant. And by getting the county council to agree to the sale of the site, we were able to build a genuine one-stop facility for healthcare in the area.

The result was a primary care centre right at the heart of the community. It incorporated a pharmacy and a range of community services such as midwifery, counselling, chiropody, speech therapy, social services and physiotherapy, plus specialist coronary, respiratory and diabetic clinics, as well as minor surgery.

It also meant the GPs had an attractive new building to assist in recruitment and training, as well as helping them develop closer links with the Trust, with healthcare professionals using the new primary care centre as a permanent base.