BUILDING work has begun to deliver an £18million ‘super’ NHS centre for Morpeth.
Contractors have now moved onto the site of former care home The Mount at Haggs Field to create the flagship centre that will house two GP practices, as well as physiotherapy, outpatient and diagnostic testing services, including x-rays and ultrasound scans.
The new-build follows approval from NHS North East last year and extensive public consultation in 2007 that saw more than 200 people take part in drop-in sessions.
Project Manager Fred Smith, of Laing O’Rourke, said: “We’re delighted to be working with NHS North of Tyne to deliver this much-needed, state-of-the-art health centre for the people of Morpeth. This new facility will be a considerable improvement to the previous centre, making a huge difference to the quality of services available and subsequently to the lives of the local community.”
The centre will be occupied by Greystoke and Gas House Lane GP practices, while offering opportunities for integrated working with staff and patients of the Wellway surgery.
Dr Richard Glennie, of Greystoke, said: “Everyone at Greystoke is very pleased at the prospect of moving to a new purpose-built health centre. We will be working closely with our NHS colleagues and our patients to make sure we have a smooth move across to the new building.”
Dr Fred O’Neill, of the Gas House Lane surgery, which has been based in Morpeth Cottage Hospital since its premises were flooded in 2008, said: “Everyone in the practice team has worked very hard to bring this plan to a reality, especially since we were so badly affected during the floods.
“We would like to thank our patients for their understanding over the past three years whilst we have been in temporary accommodation and to ask them for their continued patience during the move to the new premises. We’re looking forward to moving into a new modern health centre and having the benefit of very close access to other health services for our patients.”
The new building is being designed with energy efficiency and carbon reduction in mind, making use of natural ventilation and light. A new drainage system has been installed because of the historical problems associated with sewage at the site. The centre is expected to open to patients in 2013.
Dr Alistair Blair, who is a GP at Wellway and the lead for Northumberland’s Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re really pleased that building work has begun on the modern centre, which will ensure that the people of Morpeth and the surrounding areas are provided for over the next 25 years.”