There is some good news this week.
After several months of minor changes to plans, the Mably Way Health Centre have finally got planning consent for their extension.
The new extension will include new consulting rooms and admin space for the two GP practices (Church Street Practice and Newbury Street Practice), a reconfigured shared waiting area, a larger pharmacy and will create a separate area which could be used by an optician.
All of the extension will be single storey and it will add space at the front of the building as well as adding two additional areas to the East and West.
There will still be space at the back of the building (to the north) for future expansion if required.
At the moment each practice has 12 consulting rooms on the ground floor and the extension will add an additional 9 for each practice.
Consulting rooms are not only used by Doctors but also by Registered Nurses, Health Care Assistants and Phlebotomists so are always in use.
Both practices are part of one Primary Care Network (PCN) and jointly have additional staff including pharmacists, a pharmacy technician, physiotherapists, a care coordinator, social prescribers, and a paramedic.
According to the plans, there will be an additional 5 consulting rooms and 3 rooms for podiatry and physiotherapy on the first floor which will probably be used by the PCN staff.
Any of these consulting rooms could also be used by visiting consultants and other specialists who may come to the Health Centre to provide outpatient clinics.
The new entrance lobby will be further forward and will have a larger space for the pharmacy on the left (more than twice the size of the current pharmacy) and a separate space for an optician to the right.
The shared waiting area will cover the space currently used as the entrance lobby and both practice waiting rooms have self check-in areas with a central Meet and Greet desk.
In addition, there will be enclosed information and interview areas for patients to talk to administrative staff in private.
We will also have an additional 46 parking spaces including 8 electric charging points.
Each of our practices currently has between 15,000 and 16,000 patients and with plans to build an additional 5,000 new homes in the catchment area by 2031, all of this additional space is sorely needed.
Perhaps we should start campaigning for the next extension now.