Online GP consultations
13th Oct 2020

In light of recent changes and social distancing guidelines, general practice surgeries across the nation have increased online consultations for the safety of both staff and patients. Over the last few months, in particular, GP’s ask patients to communicate via any phone, tablet or desktop device with limited face-to-face appointments. 

GPFV (General Practice Forward View) has been a part of NHS England’s plan to meet demand by taking consultations online. It focuses on investing in technology to reduce workload and speed up the transformation of GP services. Due to Covid-19, online consultations have increased recently but are online GPs really the future and how do they work anyway? 

How Do Virtual GP Consultations Work?

Online GP consultations allow patients to contact their online GP consultant about any new or on-going health problems virtually. The current social distancing limits in-person interaction, and they intend to communicate with patients mainly via text-based services as well as via telephone and video consultations. 

NHS Digital recently announced that between March and July, half of the 102 million GP appointments were carried out either over the phone or via video call. However, despite the success of online consultations, the NHS is still urging GPs to offer face-to-face appointments. With winter approaching the NHS wants patients to know they can access their GP if needed. They also reminded GPs that not offering face-to-face appointments is a breach of their contract which could lead to enforcement action if necessary. 

Why We Still Need Face-to-Face Consultations

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, spoke on the matter saying: “The college does not want to see general practice become a totally, or even mostly, remote service post-pandemic.” With confusion amongst GPs and patients around the best way to carry out their appointments, we must question what the future will hold. 

As a healthcare specialist property service, we understand the need for GP surgeries to adapt and follow government guidelines related to the pandemic. However, it is clear GP surgeries will need to continue to be flexible throughout the winter offering a combination of in-person, over the phone and video appointments.

Patients will therefore expect GP transformations both online and offline and primary care buildings will still require further improvement to the health and wellbeing of its workers and users. Surgeries will therefore require more flexibility, becoming a space which is suitable for face-to-face appointments as well as online appointments. 

The Challenges of Becoming an Online-friendly GP

GPs and Practice Managers will be challenged with creating a space that is hospitable both online and offline which will be vital for patient’s wellbeing. To start, surgeries should consider transforming the traditional consulting rooms into space which is also online friendly. The use of screens and acoustics should be considered in all new GP developments going forward. To help with this transformation, surgeries should seek specialist healthcare property services to help seek and realise new opportunities beyond just property. 

At Apollo, we approach every project as a partnership. This allows us to build relationships and communities that bring together staff and patients to help create GP surgeries in the future. We can help improve your healthcare premises for both in-person and online use using our bespoke primary care property solutions. To find how we can help you further, get in touch today:

5th Oct 2020

As work progresses on the new Primary and Community Care Centre in Mountain Ash, the building has been given its new identity, with a little help from the local community.

Now named Tŷ Calon Lân, which translates to House of Pure Heart, developers have chosen a logo to sit alongside the new name, after running a competition locally.

Rob James, Managing Director at Apollo Capital Projects, the developers of the new Primary Care Centre said: “With Tŷ Calon Lân well on track to be completed early next year, it was time to start personalising the building with some custom branding. We encouraged the surrounding communities to get involved by entering a competition to create a logo.”

After receiving entries from a range of ages, a panel of representatives from Apollo, the Practice GPs and staff, the winner was announced as Tamzin Cross from Mountain Ash.

Rob added: “Tamzin presented fantastic professionalism and designed a clean, adaptable logo which is easy to read and apply to all the branding needed for the building.”

The logo will now be featured on internal signage, websites and letterheads as well as seen on the building itself.

The competition also included the four runners up;

Alesha Colins


Rachael Evans

Luke Morgan

Carley Beynon

Tŷ Calon Lân is due to be completed in early 2021 and will become home to Cynon Vale Medical Centre and Rhos House Surgery, delivering GP services to over 11,000 patients in the area.

Sara Bradley, Head of Primary Care at Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board said: “The new Primary Care Centre will be at the heart of the community in Mountain Ash, so we’re delighted that local residents are already becoming involved with the development of the site. The logo created by Tazmin starts to bring to life the facility which will bring together primary care services, community health services, patients and the local community. Thanks to Apollo for running this competition.” 

24th Sep 2020

The Simpson Centre and Millbarn Medical Centre will be relocating next year into a new purpose-built GP practice called the Beaconsfield Primary Care Centre and will be situated on the Parkway site fronting onto the A40 to the south of the town. Following the granting of planning permission in March, the building contract has now been awarded by the developer, Apollo Capital Projects Development Ltd to Ashe Construction Ltd. They are based in Hitchin and intend to commence construction next month. The new facility will be complete and available to patients by next Autumn.

The two-storey property will present onto the A40 Parkway, with vehicular access from a new junction into the site from Walkwood Rise, leading to a 110-space car park. Patients will have easy access to both floors of the GP, which will offer 29 clinical rooms, health education facilities and meeting rooms. Adjacent to the building entrance, there will be a pharmacy. The buildings’ design will cater for the forecast increase in the town’s population arising from the new housing developments.

With this co-location, both GP practices will be able to retain their own identity. They will benefit from working collaboratively together in the building for the benefit of their patients. 

The developer, Richard Drew, Development Director for Apollo Capital Projects Development Ltd said, “ Apollo is delighted to be involved with this fascinating and much-needed project for the town, which after five years since we first met both practices, is now ready to commence construction and be delivered for the patients for next autumn. The continued  support from both Buckinghamshire CCG and NHSE has been important as has the assistance and vision  from both Practices throughout.” 

Dr Steve Brown, a senior partner at Millbarn, said, “ I and all my staff at The Millbarn are very excited about the Beaconsfield community benefitting from a new surgery. We will be able to provide high-quality medical care and meet the challenges that the NHS faces in the future”.

Dr Moona Rakhit, a lead partner of the Simpson Centre, said, ”on behalf of my fellow partners and all staff at the Simpson centre, I would like to say how keenly we are awaiting a move to the new premises so we can further improve patient journeys. This will allow us to  expand the experience collaborating with other agencies like volunteer groups and other support agencies to provide more holistic care also for the surrounding health community in the primary care network.” 

Teresa Donnelly, NHS England Estates & Technology Transformation Fund Programme Manager, said, “NHS England has worked closely with both the Clinical Commissioning Group and the primary care development company Apollo Capital Projects Development Ltd to get to this stage of the development. We recognise that the provision of new surgery premises for the two practices is a very valuable development for the area and will provide the infrastructure to future-proof the provision of GP services for the area. We are delighted that the construction of this new GP surgery will shortly get underway”.  

The development is being funded by Assura plc. The new Beaconsfield Primary Care Centre will add to Assura’s existing portfolio of 570 primary care buildings. The development has benefited from capital funding from NHSE as part of a national programme to support investment in the primary care estate.

22nd Jun 2020

Work on a new Primary and Community Care Centre in Mountain Ash is progressing despite the challenges of COVID-19.

The purpose-built facility, which is to be named Tŷ Calon Lān, will be completed in January 2021. The building will become home to Cynon Vale Medical Centre and Rhos House Surgery, as well as a range of community services delivered by District Nurses and Health Visitors.

Despite recent challenges which have included flooding in the area and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the contractors, Jehu Project Services have managed to keep the build on schedule.

Rob James, Managing Director at Apollo Capital Projects, the developers of the new Primary Care Centre said: “The frame to the ground floor is now in place and over the next few weeks the 1st floor will be constructed and the people of Mountain Ash will begin to see what the building will look like.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic Apollo and Jehu have had to adopt new working practices to maintain progress. As a team we have also had to change suppliers and work with designers using digital platforms to ensure we can continue. Moving forward, social distancing will be a challenge as various trades start to work inside the building but the good news is that we’ve managed to overcome these challenges and maintain the programme.”

The new Mountain Ash Primary Care Centre will deliver GP services to over 11,000 patients in the area. Last week GPs from two local surgeries visited what will be their new surgery as the health centre starts to take shape. Dr Nicola Mogford from Rhos House Surgery is one of the GPs who will be moving in to the new building. She said:

“We are extremely pleased that the construction of our new building ‘Tŷ Calon Lān’ has been able to progress throughout the current pandemic. The new build will provide us with state of the art facilities to provide high quality patient care and multidisciplinary teaching, thus ensuring future sustainability for Primary Care within the heart of Mountain Ash. We would sincerely like to thank Apollo and Jehu Project Services for their unwavering commitment to the development and also to Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board and the Local Authority for their ongoing support.”

The 1,373 square metre site will enable a greater range of services to be delivered to patients within a community setting. As well as community led clinics such as wound care.  The facilities will also provide a health education room for baby massage and breast feeding clinic, minor operations room, as well as space for enhanced health and wellbeing services. Modifications have been made to the design to enable the building to be responsive to requirements of future health needs linked to the current pandemic, such as safe areas for isolation linked to infection control.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, ward Councillor for Mountain Ash West, said: “Myself and fellow ward Councillor Wendy Treeby are very pleased that construction works on the site of the new Primary and Community Care Centre in Mountain Ash have been able to progress well, despite the challenges faced with Storm Dennis earlier this year, followed by the COVID-19 national emergency.

“I am delighted that this wonderful new health facility our town centre will also reflect the history of the town with its name Ty Calon Lan, after the famous Welsh song which of course was written by Daniel James, who once lived in Mountain Ash.

“When it is opened, the new purpose-built Primary and Community Care Centre will be available to meet the medical needs of the people of Mountain Ash, who can now clearly see the building taking shape in the town centre.

“The Council will continue to work closely with the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, the contractors and the developers in order to bring this much-needed facility to fruition, for the benefit of the residents of Mountain Ash and future generations.”

Sarah Bradley, Head of Primary Care at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board added: “Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board secured funding for the project which was approved by the Welsh Government in 2017. This new facility will bring healthcare professionals together to support GPs, providing a seamless service for patients, carers and users and improving services available to the people of Mountain Ash. We’re delighted with the progress that’s being made, meaning we’re one step closer to providing an even better service for our patients in Mountain Ash.”


Beaconsfield Medical Centre
15th Apr 2020

Full planning consent has been issued following a 9-month consultation process for the long-awaited Beaconsfield Primary Care Centre. The new two storey building of 1,850 sqm together with 110 parking bays will enable the two GP practices in the town, the Simpson Centre and the Millbarn Medical Centre, to co locate and offer services to their combined patient list of 20,000. The site, known locally as the Parkway, is adjacent to the A40 and has been cleared in readiness for the main construction work to commence later this year.

The new facility will provide both practices access to 30 clinical rooms thereby securing their long-term future and to enable them to manage the increasing demand in services from an expanding local population. Patients will be able to access the new building by the end of next year upon its completion.

23rd Mar 2020

Apollo Capital Projects works exclusively in the NHS and predominantly within the primary care sector. We are seeing the challenges our GP’s and health care professionals are facing at this time and will support them in any way we can as they work through this crisis.

Apollo are observing and working within current UK and Regional Government guidance and are now actively avoiding meetings or large gatherings to protect our workforce and to minimise the spread of the virus in the wider population.

Apollo is an agile organisation who have been home working for many years now. All of our files are held on cloud servers and our office phones are now on divert to mobiles. We are continuing to progress all schemes for our clients and have adopted the use of MS Teams and Zoom for video conferencing which is proving to be very useful.

We will contact each client and consultant to provide updates and will be working and sharing information via phone, email and video conference. Site progress meetings will proceed but with reduced numbers in attendance and our GP clients are not expected to attend.

We will continue to monitor the situation and follow UK and Regional Government guidance.

Thank you for your understanding and please stay safe and well.

5th Mar 2020

Apollo’s Managing Director Rob James will be joining fellow Primary Care Direct members Capsticks Solicitors as part of a planned webinar event to discuss ‘Premises and Estates for your PCN’.

The webinar is being hosted by Primary Care Direct during March. Rob is an experienced developer with over 20 years’ experience in developing GP surgeries and will provide a valuable insight into premises development and how the primary care sector is changing as a result of the introduction and formation of PCNs. If you are interested in joining the webinar then please follow Apollo social media outlets, the Primary Care Direct website and social media under ‘News and Events’, or alternatively contact Rob for further information.

11th Feb 2020

Photo left to right – Graeme Hunter, Dr Sian Roberts, Dr Simon Gray, Sheryl Evans, Marcus Longley, Rob James, Dr Nicki Mogford, Dr Bethan Stephens, Dr Jenifer Lewis Jones, Sarah Bradley.

Apollo Capital Projects Development’s new £4m Integrated Primary Care Centre in Mountain Ash commenced on site in December 2019 and is due to open in late 2020. Cwm Taff University Health Board recommenced project boards in 2018 and the project reached financial and legal close in November 2019. The new facility will house all of the GP services for the town of Mountain Ash including, Rhos House, Cynon Vale and Hillcrest Surgeries. In addition the building will house District Nurses and Health Visitors with an intention to offer a 7 day a week service from the facility. The contemporary design by Cardiff based Hatcher Prichard Architects includes a lower level of slate with upper levels in shou sugi ban timber cladding which is an ancient Japanese method of wood preservative by burning the face of the wood.

Rob James, Apollo’s Managing Director who led this scheme said “with the help of enthusiastic stakeholders and an ambitious health board we have managed to get through planning and onto site in less than 15 months and we hope to deliver a completed building in 30 months from the recommencement of project board meetings. This demonstrates that if there is a will there is most certainly a way”. The scheme is being built by Jehu Project Services who are based in Bridgend which continues Apollo’s commitment to local investment with an entirely Cardiff based design team.

Apollo are also working on an exciting art installation at the centre which will be announced in due course.

10th Feb 2020

Apollo’s PPP joint venture business, hub West Scotland, had a very successful close to 2019, with an exciting 2020 to follow. Focussing on health here are some of the programmes recent achievements:

  • The £20m Clydebank Health Centre project reached financial close, and commenced construction in early January. This forms part of an integrated health, leisure and social care campus, at the Queens Quay regeneration site in Clydebank
  • Clydebank joins Greenock Health Centre, and the Stobhill Mental Health scheme, in a £50m bundle of schemes, all on site for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  • Gorbals Health and Care Centre, completed last year, has recently won the prestigious Architects Journal, Healthcare Building of the Year 2019, alongside the NHS Health Facilities Scotland award for Design Excellence 2019
  • There is a strong pipeline of health projects currently at various stages of development

Health and Social Care are integrated in Scotland and these large integrated health schemes, completed, on site and under development are potentially useful bell weathers for England and Wales in the future.


29th May 2019

Woodside Health & Care Centre reached Practical Completion on 15th May 2019.  The end of a pentathlon in a series of DBFM Health projects in which Apollo has had the privilege to work along-side NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) and the Authority’s partners; hub West Scotland, as Developer and Morgan Sindall as Principal Contractor.

The DBFM projects have been like mini snapshots of life, fast paced programmes on site with ups and down through to physical Completion.  The joy of projects reaching Financial Close and starting on site shortly thereafter is full of unknowns; even with a Tier 1 Contractor, a full Design Team and the layers of on-looking eyes: “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” (A saying adapted from a line within ‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns).

What gives these Projects life is people.  The strains of the Project, as detail design progresses during construction, tests people’s tenacity.  As parties participate, while going about their daily lives, external forces impact upon their involvement in projects – illness, change of employer, maternity leave, paternity leave, construction issues, vandalism, fire!  When all seems to be reasonably proceeding according to plan, surprises arise with time.  As Heraclitus once said “there is nothing permanent except change”; and this applies to both people and the circumstances of a Project.  An impossible risk to prepare for, particularly where there is a fixed date for commencement of DBFM Funder payments, regardless of the actual Completion Date or cause of a delay.

On 28th July 2018 a surprise beyond all other surprises struck when someone broke into the Woodside site and set a fire.  The quick actions of site security resulted in a fast response from the local Fire Brigade and rescue/apprehension of the intruder.  Despite fire compartmentation; what seemed a modest, contained fire, led to a serious impact upon the construction programme.  As devastating as the blow was, a plan was put in place for a Reinstatement Programme.

At c. £19m, the building at 6,730m2 is set within an urban environment, sitting hard to the pavement edge. encompassing a six GP practices, dentistry, pharmacy, community services, agile working office space and a dedicated Glasgow City Council adult Day Care Centre, for those with dementia.  The feature corners of concrete panels are softer in appearance than the material suggests.  The subtle relief of around 10mm adds depth, softness and interest to the three entrance areas; acting as book ends to the distressed red brick, reminiscent of a bye gone era.

Internally, both the Adult Day Care Centre (ADC) and the Health Centre conceal the lightness that awaits from the outside.  Both at different scales, reflecting their nature.  The ADC provides a spacious entrance/reception well-lit from Hinshaw Street; leading into a clerestory lit corridor, servicing support spaces and primary public spaces – activity rooms, dining room, hair dressers, quiet room.  Another surprise awaits beyond the large activity and dining spaces – a delightful courtyard garden, formed as the hypotenuse to legs of the Health Centre.

Health Centre Atrium photo by Mike Newton of AA Projects.

Beyond the unassuming entrance of the Health Centre, lies a light filled atrium, providing visual connection between public spaces and the waiting/reception areas adorned around the perimeter of the atrium.  The simplicity of white paint and lacquered timber panels provides a crisp setting for an almost civic, yet welcoming environment.  One of the simple but effective features is the leaf pattern etched into vertical timber rails, to delineate waiting areas off the First Floor balcony circulation.  Hopefully the setting places it’s staff, patients and visitors at ease, regardless of the purpose of their visit.

The resultant building is a credit to all involved in its creation, while various personnel changed and challenges arose during its construction.  The Glasgow City Council Group Manager was provided with the opportunity to select a quotation for opening the Handover Meeting and aptly selected “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” (Quotation by Confucius). During close of the meeting, the Senior General Manager for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde stated that “the Building will provide a massive improvement for the public”.  Here’s hoping that the latest NHSGGC Health & Care Centre is equally well received by the public when it opens its doors in July 2019.


Apollo is one of the two founding private sector partners in hub West Scotland, bringing their health and community infrastructure experience to bear on the partnership. Johnny Dryburgh, Apollo’s Chief Executive, sits on the main board of hub West Scotland, and a series of specific health related Project Companies. Apollo deliver project development and project management services on health projects, as well as investing in revenue funded health schemes.