Under the £37 million scheme announced by Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, the five hubs would be offered as accommodation to 15 existing GP surgeries, with other services also based in the new buildings.
The five health centres are proposed for three areas in the city. One in the city centre, two in the Shiregreen, Firth Park, Southey Green and Parson Cross area, and two in the Burngreave, Pitsmoor, Firvale and Page Hall area.
Mick Suter, chairman of Sheffield Save Our NHS, has concerns over the plans – fearing it will leave people having to travel further to access treatment.
He said: “If this means losing local GP practices, then we would be totally opposed to it. Losing local services would make it harder for people to go to their GPs.
"I am concerned that this would lead to worse services.
"I would ask for immediate consultation before it goes through. I think local people should have a say in what is taking place. Just creating bigger hubs is not going to solve our problems – we need more GPs, not bigger hubs.”
The clinical commissioning group says 15 GP practices may be interested in relocating into the new buildings if the plans go ahead, and this would mean their current sites would close.
They added the practices are in parts of the city which have not benefited from funding for GP buildings for many years, so many of them need to modernise or are too small to provide all the services they need to offer.
Ideas for the health centres include rooms where more services can be offered such as mental health support, physiotherapy, blood tests, and minor surgery.
Dr Terry Hudsen, GP and chairman of NHS Sheffield CCG said: “The funding is fantastic news for the city and if the health centres are built, could see more than 100,000 patients benefiting from more modern health premises and joined-up services, improving access to a wide range of services. We have been offered a significant amount of money by the government and it is a great opportunity to improve health facilities for local people.”
“I would encourage anyone who lives in the areas where a new health centre is planned to have their say as we want our plans to meet the needs of local communities.
“I want to stress that this engagement is about exploring the possibility of new health centres, no plans have been agreed on the locations or which, if any, practices will move. We want people’s ideas and views. One option is to stay as they are and not build the new health centres at all.”
Public consultation is now starting. Log onto https://www.sheffieldccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/healthcentres.htm to fill in an online form.
You can also call SOAR Community on 0114 213 4065; Firvale Community Hub on 0114 261 9130 or Shipshape on 0114 250 0222.
The plan is to build the centres by the end of 2023.
The funding will also be used to improve and make more space in some existing GP practice facilities. Nine other practices from across the city are expected to receive investment for refurbishment and extension of their current premises.