Wigton Group Medical Practice
Wigton, Cumbria, England
Cumbria Teaching PCT and Wigton GPs
New facilities for Wigton Group Medical Practice.
When the only GP surgery in Wigton grew too big for its town centre site, Prime helped deliver a new building with all the benefits of the practice’s previous location, and a whole lot more besides.
The doctors in Wigton know more than most about the building trade. Dr John Honeyman’s town centre surgery had been extended twice to cope with a rising practice population and the increasing demands placed on primary care providers – and plans had even been drawn up for a third extension.
The previous construction work had made the most of the period accommodation, giving the surgery a layout that was as practical as it could be within the limitations of the building.
Now the GP team hoped that another expansion would put an end to “hot-desking”, sharing offices and the constant juggling of clinical space that was hampering their professional practice.
Knowing the challenges of the building, a friend and GP colleague of Dr Honeyman, who’d worked with the specialist healthcare developer in nearby Aspatria, recommended he speak to Prime. Their team brought fresh eyes to the problem, pointing out that a third extension would do nothing to help the access and parking difficulties that staff and patients encountered in the busy town centre. Each new improvement to the building had already brought additional compromises.
Any further rearrangement of space would bring diminishing returns on the time and money spent, would provide only a temporary solution to the growth of the practice, and lacked any flexibility for the future.
The Wigton doctors saw the advantages of a fresh start in new premises, but would only move if a new building could combine the convenience and flexibility of a brand new purpose-built facility with the proven benefits of their existing home. Prime rose to the challenge.
A series of detailed consultations with the practice and Cumbria Teaching PCT ended with proposals that closely reflected the layout of the town centre surgery, whilst accommodating extra area for service expansion, new users and office space for the Trust.
A suitable site was identified at a former local authority building five minutes’ walk from the centre of town which had been earmarked for regeneration. Cumbria County Council was happy to see the plot used for healthcare, but had reservations about the building’s position within the site.
Prime and the surgery team proposed a design that offered protected car parking, and views across nearby playing fields: the planners preferred to stick rigidly to the footprint of the original building.
Determined to deliver the best outcome for the staff and community of Wigton, Dr Honeyman and his team held firm. It was the combination of their efforts and local knowledge together with the valuable experience of Prime, that led to the design finally gaining approval from the council’s full planning committee.
The completed Wigton Group Medical Practice combines familiar elements of the town centre surgery with a new sense of space and style. A fully glazed entrance gives way to a welcoming reception area, but allows clinical staff to bypass the waiting room as they enter the building. Generous clinical and administration rooms give the healthcare professionals the space they need to work in comfort.
New services such as podiatry and dentistry mean that local residents no longer need to travel outside Wigton for treatment, and the closest pharmacy to the existing GP surgery has relocated to the building. Outside, the rendered facade and reconstituted slate-effect roof ensure the building sits handsomely within the local environment.
The opening of the new surgery shows how primary health care teams no longer have to settle for compromise at work. As Practice Manager Lin Baillie recounts from her own smart office in the new Wigton Group Medical Practice: “It has done wonders for everyone’s morale. All of the difficulties that we had were resolved when we moved here.”