Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB has formally committed to work on developing a second practice in a town with just one surgery serving 36,000 registered patients.
According to Melton Borough Council, the ICB confirmed it will explore the options for the location of a second surgery in Melton Mowbray.
The council said the ICB’s decision will enable more effective strategic planning, with details of the developing business case due to be considered in spring 2023.
It comes after a years-long campaign, supported by both the council and its Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, to develop another GP practice in the town.
The council has proposed repurposing its two ageing leisure centres and a ‘consolidated health and leisure park’, which it said could include primary care provision.
The current practice, Latham House Medical Practice (LHMP) is one of the largest single group practices in the country, with 36,072 registered patients.
But the council expects the planned development of around 6,125 new homes in the borough will place additional strain on the surgery.
Andy Williams, chief executive of the ICB, said: ‘We look forward to working with Council colleagues as we develop the options for more GP services, which we know are important to local people as a main point of contact for healthcare and integral to creating healthy communities.’
And Ms Kearns said: ‘We are on the road to the healthcare residents of Melton need and deserve. There’s still a way to go, but this is the news our town has been waiting for and that Joe and I promised we’d deliver and I look forward to continuing to work with Melton Borough Council and the ICB.’
Councillor Joe Orson said: ‘The formal commitment from the ICB is fantastic news for Melton and moves us one step closer to a much-needed new GP surgery for our community. There is still a long way to go but we are delighted to be able to collaborate with both our partners at the ICB, and our MP, to examine how we can realistically deliver our shared aspirations.
‘Raising the funding to make the investment required is not going to be easy, but we will leave no stone unturned and the commitment from the ICB allows us to strategically plan together as we move forward.’