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Euston: HS2 threat to GP centre ‘would cost UK thousands of doctors’

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Demolishing Euston to make way for HS2 will have a “huge detrimental impact” on family doctor services across the country because of the threat to a GP assessment centre next to the station, the government was told this week.

The warning came from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in a strongly-worded attack on the £50billion railway scheme.

The RCGP, which has 48,000 members, has lodged an official objection to the scheme in which it warns that the United Kingdom would be “deprived” of thousands of new doctor recruits if HS2’s current proposals for Euston are approved.

In an official complaint to the government, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, honorary treasurer of the RCGP, said the college was “immediately and potentially catastrophically threatened by the current plans for HS2” because of “unacceptable and direct” threat to its purpose-built GP assessment centre, next to the station.

The centre in Melton Street is where all GPs are assessed before getting their licences.

According to the RCGP, it is “unique, having been built to our specifications and as such is not replicable anywhere in the UK”.

Dr Stokes-Lampard said: “Were the examinations not able to run due to the disturbance caused by HS2 this would mean that the UK would be deprived of thousands of new GPs each year.

“This would have a huge detrimental impact for the future delivery of general practice and primary care throughout the UK.”

Dr Stokes-Lampard  said she had “serious concerns” that the college would be hit with major losses if HS2 goes ahead that could jeopardise its “financial viability”.

The RCGP bought the freehold to the Grade II-listed, five-storey building in Euston Square a few months before HS2 Ltd announced it would be tearing down the whole area.

The building has since won awards in 2011 for the “unique” refurbishment, a process that RCGP funded with a 15-year commercial bank loan, the document explains.

Ben Ruse, a spokesman for HS2, said: “HS2 is an essential project supporting the future aspirations of the country. However, we recognise that, alongside the millions that will benefit, some people and groups may be adversely affected.”

The college’s complaint is one of hundreds of “petitions” sent to a House of Commons committee, which is scrutinising the HS2 Bill before it faces a vote by MPs that would give the scheme the final go-ahead.

Petitions from Camden have been summarised in a report by HS2 this week.

Its analysis shows that “compensation” is the biggest concern among Camden residents, with 82 per cent of petitions raising the issue.

Noise and vibration from construction work came second and air quality third.

Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward said: “I hope that these petitions are the wake-up call the government needs to think again on HS2.”

Camden New Journal
7 August

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