A Manchester United football legend helped ‘turn the first sod’ at his local doctor’s surgery as work began on a £1million extension.

Former goalkeeper Alex Stepney, who played 539 times for the Red Devils between 1966 and 1978, was present as bosses at Over Wyre Medical Centre started the long-awaited work to expand the practice.

Mr Stepney, 73, who played a starring role in United’s 1968 European Cup Final win, joined practice manager John Macphee and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) lay member for engagement Kevin Toole at an official groundbreaking ceremony, alongside GP partners Dr Tom Marland and Dr Steve Lynch and chairman of the Over Wyre patient participation group Ian Gibson.

He said: “I was delighted to be asked to come along and help out at this ceremony. I am proud to live in Over Wyre and to be a patient at a practice which is very much at the heart of our local community.

“It is great to know the NHS is supporting the practice in this way. Having been told all about the new services that will be available following this work, it will be a massive benefit for people in this area.”

The practice in Wilkinson Way, Preesall, secured about £650,000 from NHS England to carry out the work, with the rest being funded by the medical centre itself.

The work will see the creation of additional consulting rooms, a library and meeting room. The dispensary will be extended and improvements made to other clinical support rooms and offices.

kevin and alex stepney

Kevin Toole, left, with Alex Stepney

Dr Tom Marland, GP partner at Over Wyre Medical Centre, said: “We are excited to enhance our premises and now look forward to seeing the extension project take shape in the coming months.

“The support and guidance of our clinical commissioning group has been crucial in obtaining this funding.

“We have also worked closely with the local community, our patient participation group and the wider neighbourhood.

“By improving facilities and the range of services we can provide, our building development will benefit not only our own patients and staff but also patients within our neighbourhood scheme which is now gaining momentum.”

Kevin Toole, Fylde and Wyre CCG lay advisor, said: “This development shows just how instrumental patient participation groups (PPGs) can be in driving forward change at their GP surgery.

“It is encouraging to see how Over Wyre Medical Centre and its PPG work together to improve services and facilities for local people.”


Notes:

  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/choice
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient: nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/NHSConstitution/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.