New GP partnership’s name rooted in pride for local history

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Plans for a new health hub in Lewes are moving forward, with the proposed new GP partnership in the heart of the town officially getting named ‘The Foundry’, and the launch of  its new website.

School Hill Medical Practice, St Andrews Surgery and River Lodge Surgery plan to  come together (while still retaining the Ringmer branch surgery for the community) to form ‘The Foundry’, with a new website at www.foundryhealthcarelewes.co.uk.

Establishing the name and brand for the proposed new surgery forms another step towards achieving the plan to create a health hub in the town centre. While the merger is being finalised and the new premises built (as part of the North Street Quarter development) the practices are working together to improve services, increase resilience and enhance patient care.

Residents of the town who make up the Patient Participation Groups from the three GP Practices led the process naming the new surgery. The suggestion for the name came after Dr Jason Heath (GP partner at St Andrews Practice) discovered the place the proposed new health hub building is planned to be built on was close to the site of the historic Lewes foundry. 

John Every established the Phoenix Iron Works in the town in 1832. Ironwork from there has been used across the country, including for Brighton Pier and railings at St Paul’s cathedral, and around the world as far away as Australia. Evidence of its work is still seen all over Lewes, and the wider region, particularly the distinctive man hole covers.

Dr Jason Heath, GP partner at St Andrews Practice, said: “We are proud to name the proposed new surgery ‘The Foundry’, evoking memories of the loud, lively forges and hot furnaces of the historic Phoenix Foundry which was once the beating heart of town, putting Lewes at the centre of English iron manufacturing, but also resonating with a sense of a future NHS for Lewes built on strong foundations.

“We hope the proposed health hub will bring huge benefits for local people, including access to a wider range of health professionals under one roof, including practice pharmacists paramedics, specialist nurses, physiotherapy, mental health support, as well as improved access to your GP when you need to see them, including 7 day GP appointments, but also bringing in community services, social enterprise projects & education. We want to build on what we have & make it better – and this includes enhancing the role of the Victoria hospital.”

Dr Elizabeth Gill, Clinical Chair of High Weald and Lewes CCG, said: ““The creation of the health hub in the heart of the community is an exciting proposal and will help meet increased demands on local GP practices in the town, offering a broader range of primary care services to local people.

There will be no need for patients registered at the three surgeries to do anything to get a new GP as they will remain registered with the GP partners who will be working from The Foundry.”

The North Street Quarter health hub forms part of a wider model for Lewes with the development of a health and social care campus, encompassing both existing facilities and a new facility. The Lewes Health Campus will be a catalyst for change to health and social care for the town and wider population. Find out more about the progress of the Health Hub at www.northstreetqtr.co.uk.