PLANS to radically change the way people see their GP in Bicester have been met with concerns.

Residents fear the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group proposals to create two ‘health hubs’ in the growing town could be detrimental to existing patients.

Many fear that moving all the town’s services to just two locations could leave some too far from their surgery.

Health bosses are looking into the idea of the ‘health hubs’ in response to a desperate lack of doctors, coupled with a growing and ageing population across Oxfordshire.

It has said a more sustainable model could be provided by creating two large ‘neighbourhood health hubs’ by 2031.

Current suggestions for these sites include the area around Bicester Community Hospital, as well as either Graven Hill or Kingsmere.

Cherwell district councillor and town councillor for the south Dan Sames said: “People are concerned with the growth of the town and whether there is enough GP provision to cope with it.

“Health care is changing and moving against the model people are familiar with – to have a practice on your doorstep – so people are worried that it will be hard to get to if it were to change.”

The OCCG has said patient numbers in Bicester are expected to swell by more than 20 per cent in coming years.

There is local concern that if Kingsmere is chosen to house one of the health hubs, it would mean both hubs are close to within a mile of each other.

Mr Sames added: “If it leads to an improvement in services then it might be a good thing but I do have concerns if will not be as easy to access for people.

“It could put people off going to the GP and might mean they make more of our emergency services.

“It is just an unknown situation.”

Speaking of the community hospital and Graven Hill as site options, town councillor John Broad said: “Both are to the south of Bicester and neither is easy to get to other than by car.

“The community hospital has a major car parking problem already and with the London Road crossing plus all the jams around the Rodney House roundabout area would be a nightmare for a Graven Hill hub – both are not logical.”

The councillor said the plan would go against all efforts to get fewer people driving and force them to drive to appointments, something that already happened for patients north of the town after two surgeries merged into one at Alchester Medical Practice, Langford.

Mr Broad added: “The medical facilities for the rapidly-growing town of Bicester are being downgraded by the OCCG to a level that wouldn’t have fitted in with the town at the turn of the century and will never be adequate for the impending growth of Bicester.”

OCCG said it had been working with Cherwell District Council to look at possible sites in the town, but is yet to have made any decision.

A statement said: “The three GP practices in Bicester have been working hard with the CCG to ensure that primary care services will be able to meet the demands of the growing population expected as a result of the housing growth in Bicester.

“We anticipate that this is likely to involve the need for new premises for some of the practices.

“Once we have more information on possible options, we will be engaging patients and any decisions made will need to take into account the views of patients as well as value for money.”