Equitable House
The health centre is based at Equitable House in Woolwich

Local NHS services will be able to cope after one of the closure of one of Woolwich’s GP surgeries, despite the area’s growing population, health chiefs and Greenwich Council have said.

The South East London Integrated Care Board (ICB) announced on Tuesday that the Clover Health Centre, which is based in Equitable House on General Gordon Square, will close its doors at the end of September.

Some 5,400 patients will need to sign up with a new surgery, but the ICB said that the number of people on the list meant that it was not viable for the centre to stay open.

The announcement raised eyebrows as the centre is located opposite two major housing developments that are about to be built – 482 homes at the new Woolwich leisure centre site and 801 homes at Woolwich Exchange, between the covered market and Spray Street.

Another 523 homes are planned as Berkeley Homes continues to build at the Royal Arsenal and a similar number could come to the Island Site, on the other side of the square from the health centre, if the latest plans for the partly-derelict block are approved.

NHS chiefs have also raised concerns in the past about their ability to cope with new developments. Two years ago, a predecessor body to the ICB complained that healthcare facilities in Greenwich Millennium Village would be unable to cope with the development’s final phase.

The ICB said in the statement issued on Tuesday: “We are confident in the capacity of Greenwich GP practices to accommodate the increased number of patients. They have expressed their willingness to take on this responsibility.

“The 5,400 patients registered live all across the borough, and beyond, and less than 2,000 of the current patients live within a mile of Clover Health Centre.”

When asked about Woolwich practices’ ability to absorb new developments, the ICB did not address the issue and referred 853 back to its previous statement, but said it that it now had “good confidence” in the surgery at Greenwich Millennium Village’s ability to cope as its building had a spare floor it could use.

Greenwich Council said: “We work very closely with our NHS partners and we have had assurances that other Greenwich GPs can accommodate new patients. We’ll be working closely with the ICB to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

“More widely, the NHS has a responsibility for ensuring there’s adequate provision, and for putting plans in place to accommodate for population growth across the borough, not only in Woolwich.”     

Help 853 continue reporting on public interest issues in Greenwich and southeast London – we are the only outlet regularly producing original journalism in the borough, and we can only do it with your funding.

Please join over 100 donors who use Steady, PressPatron or Patreon to give a little towards our costs every month. The money pays the bills, a wage for the editor and pays others to write for the site.

You can also buy the editor a coffee at ko-fi.com. Thank you.