Commissioning group is criticised for ‘cloak of secrecy’ surrounding new medical centre for Buckingham

A Montpelier health centre
A Montpelier health centre
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A district councillor has criticised the Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group (AVCCG) for failing to get on board with plans for a new medical centre for Buckingham.

District councillor for Buckingham South, Howard Mordue, a director of Healthwatch Bucks, said the medical centre was part of the original proposal by Hallam Land for the 700-home Windsor Park housing development on London Road and the developers handed over £177,000 in Section 106 money in relation to this.

We reported in November that Montpelier Estates had been in discussions with local GPs and hospital trusts, about providing a range of NHS services from the health centre, including new hospital services, GP and dental care.

Mr Mordue said Bucks Primary Care Trust (PCT) originally identified the need for a modern, up-to-date medical facility in the town.

Mr Mordue said: “It was felt there was a case for a new medical facility with car parking, primary care facilities and other treatments including dialysis and perhaps a portable MRI scanner.

“It would also allow consultants to have easy access to consulting rooms and link with the new University of Buckingham medical school.”

In April the CCG took over responsibility for purchasing healthcare for people in the north of the Vale.

In its comment on the Sainsbury’s planning application in September, the area team for NHS England said: “Neither NHS England Thames Valley nor its predecessor organisation have ever made a definite commitment to commission a new facility on this site”.

And it added: “As commissioners of secondary care and community services, AVCCG have not made any commitment to delivering such services from this site”.

Mr Mordue said: “What happens to the money if the centre doesn’t happen? I’m very concerned the money might have to be handed back to the developer rather than be used for health care in Buckingham. I’m trying to think 10 to 15 years ahead.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Buckingham, which unfortunately seems to be failing because of a cloak of secrecy and lack of transparency by Aylesbury Vale CCG.”

He added patients should be part of the decision-making process.

A spokesman for AVCCG said: “We are working through our North Locality group of clinicians and stakeholders to understand their population’s future health needs. This will inform the development of our five-year integrated health and social care strategy. Part of this work includes the consideration of local health infrastructure.

“To date we have held three locality meetings about the development of this strategy, with more planned in the next three months. NHS Aylesbury Vale CCG fully supports the development of new GP premises on the new site adjacent to Sainsbury’s.

“However, we have not made any commitment to delivering any other services from this site as outlined in the planning application.

“Any such consideration will be undertaken through our North Locality commissioning group and will include the consideration of services already provided from the Buckingham Community Hospital.”