Relocation of health centre in Waltham Forest delayed due to ‘extended NHS negotiations’

The relocation of a Walthamstow medical centre has been delayed due to “extended negotiations,” the NHS says.

St James’ Centre is set to move from its current base in St James’ Street to a purpose-built unit in Brunner Road later this year.

The current lease runs out at the end of October, and some patients are worried about the hold-ups.

Long-standing patient Philip Herlihy told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) work “hadn’t [yet] started” despite the looming deadline.

A spokesperson for the NHS North East London (NEL) integrated care board said: “Due to extended negotiations over lease arrangements, there has been a delay in St James Medical Practice’s proposed move to new premises.

“However, these issues have now been resolved and a new timeline for the move is being finalised.”

He added that, in the meantime, discussions were underway to extend the practice’s current lease beyond the end of October.

This would allow it to continue operating from its current home, he said.

A spokesperson for Waltham Forest Council said the authority was “working closely” with NEL to “finalise the lease and then fit out this new facility, which will benefit local residents for many years to come”.

Patients attending the centre have also been worried it may close if an agreement was not reached. Philip added: “The resulting loss of clinical and administrative staff could only mean that appointments will be even harder to get for everyone.”

However, the LDRS understands the option of closing the centre has not been considered, nor had the dispersal of patients to other practices.

The care board’s priority remains “ensuring patients at the practice have ongoing access to primary care services,” the NEL spokesperson said.

Integrated care boards, or ICBs, are NHS organisations responsible for planning local healthcare. They manage budgets, and work with hospitals and GP surgeries to develop five-year strategies.

The bespoke two-storey unit in Brunner Road was built as part of Waltham Forest Council’s Jazz Yard development, alongside 83 new homes.

The mixed-use development is part of the council’s wider residential plan for the borough. Alongside the new St James Centre, it will be home to an adjoining NHS wellness and advice centre.

It was built by the council’s now-defunct construction company, SixtyBricks.

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Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter