Neil Parish MP Officially Opens New £1.8M Extension For Local GP Surgery

A new-look Clare House Surgery located in Newport Street, was officially opened by Neil Parish MP in a ribbon cutting ceremony following the completion of a project costing the practice £1.8m. The substantial building programme overseen by lead consultants Haldons Limited and built by contractors Morgan Sindall.  The extension has created a significant expansion of the surgery, allowing Clare House to increase its provision of services and resulting in the creation of several new jobs. This includes additional receptionist staff, a prescription manager, a strategic manager and a new apprentice, taking the current number of employees to over 40.

Haldons Ltd., a multi-discipline firm has offices in Exeter and Torquay, provided project management, architectural design, quantity surveying and cost management services and acted as CDM Co-ordinator. The build took 14 months and was completed on time and within budget.

Mark Coton, Director of Haldons liaised with the Primary Care Trust and Clare House Surgery over a number of years, looking at several options to enable the GP Practice to either relocate or expand on the current site. The construction consultants helped Clare House prepare a business case which was successful in securing a £700k central Government grant/loan to make the project viable. 

The surgery, which has a patient list of over 10,000 is located in an area which is part of the original Saxon and Mediaeval settlement.  The main house is Grade II listed and was constructed around 1816 in the Italianate style.  Clare House together with Mark Coton and Barnstaple-based Architect Jerry Kent, worked closely with the Local Authority Conservation Officer to agree a viable extension to the listed building.

Mark Coton, Director Haldons Ltd., said: “The extension required a link with the existing listed building and this, along with the form of the new relationship to the existing surgery, was critical to the development of the design. The new building provides visual clues linking with the main house, including white rendered walls with inset windows and overhanging roof eaves, producing spaces that provide a calm and confidential environment for both patients and staff.”

Neil Parish MP said: “It gives me great pride to cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the new extension at Clare House Surgery.  There has been a surgery at Clare House for over 80 years and it is a great asset to the town, delivering a modern service.  Well done to Lead Consultant, Haldons for making it fit in so well with the existing listed building and congratulations to the whole team for such a successful project.”

The refurbishment programme has significantly increased the size of the surgery, creating additional clinical space for extra trainees and family care, 12 new treatment and consulting rooms, a waiting area and reception plus a new operating theatre.  With the new surgical suite, Clare House Surgery is able to offer operations including vasectomy, carpal tunnel and dermatology procedures. In addition there is an on-site pharmacy, and this is the first Superdrug built within a GP practice in the UK. The surgery also provides medical education provision for the Peninsula Post graduate Deanery and the University of Exeter Medical School. There are four qualified GP trainers in the practice and all the Partners are accredited by the University of Exeter for Medical Student Training.

There are currently seven Partners and two associate GPs. Two of the senior Doctors are members of The Royal College of Surgeons.  The Surgery is also actively involved in medical training, and currently has three GP Registrars as well as medical students and in addition there is Practice Nursing staff and health specialists.

Dr Frank O’Kelly, Senior Partner said:“This is a major investment. The additional space has made a huge difference to the local community, creating new jobs and offering even better medical care for our patients including minor surgery, which is traditionally only carried out in hospitals.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for overseeing the project and also Patrick Newton and his team at Morgan Sindall who were very accommodating.  They even helped move large medical equipment and kept disruption to a minimum ensuring our staff could continue to care for patients throughout the building works.  It is a very exciting time for Clare House Surgery, and to recognise the new era we have re-branded to reflect the contemporary new look and feel of the practice.”

Dr Jim Wood, Project lead for Clare House adds: "Clare House has a long tradition of providing family medicine to the people of Tiverton. The new refurbished and extended building allows us to continue that tradition whilst also allowing us to provide enhanced services to the population of Mid-Devon through our surgical suite. This currently includes carpal tunnel, vasectomy and skin cancer services with a planned increase in dermatology provision for the area also. In addition it has allowed us to build on our tradition as a teaching practice. We are very grateful for the all the hard work put in by Morgan Sindall who were incredibly considerate in minimising disruption. Inevitably, however, there has had to be some disruption and I would like to thank all our patients and staff for being so supportive during the build - we couldn't have done it without them."