No NHS doctors left to serve people in borough’s largest regeneration site

Argent say premises can be made available in Canal Reach but health chiefs tell meeting no site could be found

Thursday, 27th January — By Tom Foot

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Councillor Jonathan Simpson: “It seems like a massive failure”

NHS chiefs have been accused of a “massive failure” – after being unable to find space for a GP surgery serving residents living in the railwaylands regeneration site in King’s Cross.

North Central London Clinical Commissioning Groups (NCLCCG) has agreed to let the only current practice in the area move to a new place in Somers Town.

They said they could not find anywhere closer to new properties built in what was once Europe’s biggest brownfield opportunity site.

Speaking at Camden’s health scrutiny commitee on Monday, King’s Cross councillor Jonathan Simpson said: “I find it frankly absurd. Residents in the KX development are saying there is no capacity already.

“They are having to go to James Wigg in Kentish Town. I can’t understand why something cannot be put in the new King’s Cross development.

“It seems like a massive failure for them. I worry for the vulnerable residents, once GP meetings resumes.”

Large sections of the site are private homes – including a £7million penthouse in the old Gasholders – but One Housing also manage what is described as a “significant proportion of affordable housing”.

The King’s Cross railwaylands regeneration site

Labour councillor Paul Tomlinson added: “This is a failure. This is going to cause great inconvenience. There are a lot of people with disabilities.”

And his colleague Councillor Larraine Revah added: “I don’t see why we can’t go on to the KX site. There is plenty of space. You are not leaving people with a choice.”

Green councillor Sian Berry said she thought a surgery had been negotiated in the original planning agreement for the land.

The King’s Cross Surgery – the service being moved – was among practices that were taken over by the US-health insurance giant Centene last year.

The change in control from its previous operator AT Medics is being challenged in a judicial review brought by Islington patients, which gets underway next month in the High Court.

Simon Wheatley, a director at NCLCCG, told the meeting: “I recognise it is not an area over-populated in terms of practices. We need to make sure we are scoping in a way that’s fit for the future.

“But it’s unlikely we will be commissioning new contracts in the foreseeable.”

Robert Evans, joint managing partner of developers Argent, said:. “Notwithstanding the decision by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to move the local NHS surgery to Chalton Street, we continue to explore other complementary options that could enhance the health services available in King’s Cross.

“We have premises available on Canal Reach, in a prominent location within the Estate, close to new homes and offices. We believe this is a great location for an expanding population of residents.”

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