RADICAL changes to how people in Bicester will see their doctor have been announced as health chiefs admit that the current model is no longer sustainable.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said amid a desperate lack of doctors, the health needs of a town with more than 10,000 new homes currently in the pipeline could no longer be met by traditional GP surgeries.

In an effort to move to a more sustainable model, the CCG is aiming to develop two large 'neighbourhood health hubs' in the town by 2031 instead of GP partner practices, which could offer care for up to 40,000 patients.

However, councillors have raised concerns over the plans, which could see patients having to travel further to see their doctor, while also putting further strain on local infrastructure.

Speaking at a meeting of Cherwell District Council's overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday, the CCG's healthy new towns officer, Rosie Rowe, said the lack of doctors was the biggest problem faced by primary care, with many young doctors finding the idea of working at GP practices unappealing.

Working as a salaried GP at one of the new health hubs would be a more attractive option, according to Ms Rowe.

She said: "We need to address the population growth that's happening in and around the town and look at how services can adapt and what changes might be needed to accommodate the increasing population.

She added: "But it's not about having enough money, it's about having enough doctors who want to be GPs."

Patients numbers in Bicester and the surrounding area are expected to grow by more than 20 per cent over the next decade or so.

However, with the favoured path of the Oxford to Cambridge expressway likely to run close to Bicester, the potential is there for even more housing developments further down the line.

The CCG has said it hopes to use the health centre at the Community Hospital as one of the so-called 'health campuses', while the second site is expected to be on either the Graven Hill development, where almost 2,000 homes are planned, or on the Kingsmere development, which will house up to 2,450 new homes.

A final decision is expected to be made before the end of the year.

However, Cherwell councillor for Bicester West, Les Sibley, raised concerns over the proposed locations saying it could put further pressure on the town's already saturated transport network.

He said: "These sites are quite close to one another and that, to me, would immediately defeat what you're trying to achieve.

"I just see this as a big time-bomb that is ticking away.

"They are within about a square mile of each other and we have already got traffic issues."

Speaking after the meeting he added: "We need to think seriously and not try to rush it through.

"We missed a trick at the community hospital when they could have increased the number of beds but as soon as the roof went on that option has gone.

"We need to make sure that we plan properly for the future health needs of the town."