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A five-year lease for Hightown Village Surgery ensuring the premises for a GP practice

The future of Hightown village surgery is looking very exciting. The solicitors acting for NHS Property Services have confirmed to Mr Ellis Hall-Lyon, the owner of the Hightown Village surgery building, that a five year lease is presently being signed and is due to commence within the next couple of weeks.

NHS England were originally unsure as to the future of Hightown Village Surgery. Commissioning officers from NHS England's local branch had mistakenly confused the small village near Formby, with its population of just over 2,000 with a much larger area of Luton, known as High Town, with a population closer to 10,000 and had therefore assumed that only 18% or thereabouts of its population used the local surgery. In actual fact, approximately 90% of Hightown residents use their local surgery. Commissioning officers had also not taken into account the unusual demographics of Hightown's population; residents aged 50+ make up 54.2% of the local population, which is significantly higher than the national average of 34.9%. After clarification of these points with senior NHS England Director of Commissioning Services, Mr. Richard Barker, and the significant intervention of senior members of Sefton Council a significant turnaround of events took place, culminating in the position at present. An in-depth survey of Hightown Village Surgery building was commissioned and carried out by the District Valuer recently. The survey was carried out to assess the present facilities at Hightown Village Surgery, upon which NHS England have recently spent tens of thousands of pounds on internal renovations. These include full redecoration, re-carpeting, replacing all vinyl clinical floors and installing new upgraded clinical sink units, to name but a few. More importantly, the survey looked at the building's potential for expansion, in order to facilitate development of the site. The landlord, Mr Ellis Hall-Lyon, has clarified that he will guarantee that rental payments on the property will remain the same for the next ten years and will happily work with NHS England to expand the site in anyway that they require. NHS England also commissioned a travel survey, which will highlight private and public transport issues from this isolated village, particularly for the significant population of elderly residents that rely upon public transport. All this coupled with the tremendous response from residents, through letters, emails and telephone conversations, have obviously culminated in this extremely exciting chapter for the GP services in Hightown.

NHS England – Cheshire and Merseyside have made this statement: “We have reached agreement on a five-year lease for Hightown Village Surgery and this is due to be signed imminently. However, we have never said that this indicates one way or the other the future of the practice and to say otherwise is misleading."

“The new lease arrangements for Hightown Village Surgery will ensure that we have premises for a GP practice for the immediate future and longer-term if required. We would like to be very clear that this is entirely separate from the ongoing discussions about the future of GP services in Hightown."

“We are continuing to explore all options and will shortly be launching a listening exercise so that we can understand the impact of any changes and hear patients’ own ideas about how GP services could be delivered in the future.”

The surgery is conveniently located directly at Hightown Railway Station. Given the significant issues relating to capacity of patients at virtually all surgeries within Formby and Crosby, which will only escalate given the council's local housing plan, the potential for Hightown Village Surgery to take on patients that live in close proximity to Freshfield, Formby, Hall Road, Blundellsands & Crosby Railway Stations will be a major benefit. In addition, the Hightown surgery site also has an abundance of parking. There are ten car park spaces with the spacious car park and also on-road car parking. Using the Hightown Village Sugery as a 'overflow' surgery for the local area is ingenious and will potentially benefit all patients within the Formby, Hightown and Crosby areas.

No matter where you live, you can choose the local surgery that you wish to join and do not have to be in the one that you live closest to. This means that any residents that live in Formby, Hightown, Crosby etc. can, if they so wish, join the Hightown surgery. This also means that anyone that lives in Hightown can also join any surgery in another area such as Formby, or Crosby.

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