New care homes ‘will only add to pressure already felt by GPs’

An artist’s impression of the conversion of Penhurst School into a care home

Mike Tysoe

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

DOCTORS’ surgeries will struggle to cope with a rise in OAP residents after two care homes were approved for Chipping Norton, a GP manager has warned.

It comes after plans for 96 extra care flats and houses were approved for Rockhill Farm, London Road, and a 100-place care home at the former Penhurst School site in New Street.

White House Surgery practice manager Tony Love said: “It will add to the pressure which is already being felt by the GPs. You do become more concerned about whether we will be able to deliver and maintain the same level of care that we give now if there’s additional heavier medical requirements because of the care home.”

White House Surgery and West Street Surgery share about 15,000 patients, including residents from five care homes in Chipping Norton, Kingham and Enstone.

They are to merge in a £3m new doctor’s surgery called Chipping Norton Health Park in Russell Way next year.

The town council said ahead of the Rockhill Farm planning decision it was concerned about “the increasing demographic imbalance within Chipping Norton” if both applications were passed.

Mayor Mike Tysoe said: “The biggest worry is what effect it will have on the GPs and medical services.

“But it also means that people moving into the care homes can open up a house for another generation to move into.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s scheme at Rockhill Farm is for 80 flats and 16 homes and provides on-site support from health professionals.

The council said that 48 flats would be reserved for town residents.

It was approved last month and work is due to start in autumn next year for a spring 2017 opening.

Penhurst School, which was for severely disabled children, closed in May last year because of falling demand.

Action For Children, which ran the school, is working with Beechcroft Developments to create a 58-bedroom care home and 43 assisted living apartments for the over 55s.

It was approved last Monday. Both were passed by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Official estimates show the number of county people aged 85 and over will increase from 14,683 in 2011 to 39,400 by 2035.

The NHS recorded 3,566 dementia sufferers on March 31 last year and 3,936 on the same day this year.

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