Grayshott Surgery has raised serious concerns about the approved 74-bed care home at the Andrews Garden Equipment Shop site, off Portsmouth Road in Hindhead.
The surgery has sent a letter to the Herald – co-signed by Dr Edward Bell and Dr Seun Akande – detailing its concerns, which includes the number of care home beds already in the Hindhead area.
The letter from Dr Bell and Dr Akande says: “Quality data suggests if a care home was to be developed on this site it would not benefit the local population and, furthermore, it would place unnecessary and additional strain on existing health services.
“The fundamental basis for our concerns is there is not a need for another care home in Hindhead.
“We know there is an unusually-high number of care home beds in the Hindhead area, many of which are unoccupied.
“As the only GP surgery covering this area, we already look after 18 care homes with more than 500 beds.
“This is double the average number of care-home beds per GP surgery in the Surrey Heartlands CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) area.”
Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership – which covers the Hindhead area – has admitted it would welcome “a more holistic approach to planning applications and potential impact on community infrastructure”.
Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership chief executive Professor Claire Fuller said: “While we recognise the concerns expressed by our local GPs, clearly planning approvals such as this are a matter for the local council’s planning committee in line with established policy, and we understand that.
“Recent changes to how health and care systems work mean that we, including local clinicians, are working much more closely with our local government colleagues as part of the Guildford and Waverley Health and Care Alliance and we welcome that.
“Looking ahead, as a health and care system, we would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with the Local Government Association to ensure a more holistic approach to planning applications and potential impact on local community infrastructure.”
The 74-bed care home at the Andrews site was approved by Waverley borough councillors in March.
A Waverley Borough Council spokesperson said: “The application to build a new care home at Portsmouth Road was granted in line with the officers’ recommendation, because there were no grounds for refusal.
“The site is a brownfield site, which has the potential to be used much more efficiently.
“Our adopted Local Plan Part 1 states the council will support the provision of new housing and related accommodation to meet the needs of specific groups including older people (aged 65 and over).
“Our Strategic Housing Market Assessment indicates there is a need for more accommodation to serve the needs of the elderly within the borough.
“While officers noted a number of problems face local health-care providers, such as the lack of qualified staff, these are national issues that fall outside of the scope of the planning process.”