MORPETH’S eagerly awaited new £18million health centre is on track for its spring opening target.
Construction of the NHS facility on the site of a former care home, The Mount, at Haggs Field is nearing completion.
GP and primary care health services, as well as outpatient, x-ray and other specialist provision currently provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust staff at Morpeth Cottage Hospital will all be available under one roof at the new building.
Patients based at the GP practices and with appointments for Northumbria Healthcare’s services will be advised of the change of details in the run-up to the opening.
Dr Alistair Blair, who is a GP at Morpeth’s Wellway Health Centre as well as being chief clinical and accountable officer of the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The modern centre will ensure that the people of Morpeth and the surrounding areas are provided for over the next 25 years.
“It’s great news that the centre will soon be open and delivering high quality health services to people living in Morpeth.
“Staff and GPs at the surgeries are gearing up for the move and are looking forward to welcoming patients to the brand new state-of-the-art facility, which will include new clinical areas to provide modern healthcare services for the local community.
“The health centre will provide high-quality healthcare and the modern equipment will help GPs to do diagnostic testing in the surgery, which will save many people from having to travel to receive their treatment.”
It will provide new premises for Greystoke and Gas House Lane, giving access to new, modern healthcare facilities for the 14,000 patients registered at both practices.
The centre, which was developed with investment from NHS North of Tyne, also offers the opportunity for integrated working for the staff and patients at Wellway, as well as closer working with hospital and community colleagues to provide more care closer to people’s homes.
Dr Richard Curless, executive director of medicine and emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are pleased that the new centre is almost ready to welcome patients. It will provide much improved facilities from which to deliver our many outpatient, physiotherapy, x-ray and community services and give us the opportunity to build on the wide range of services we provide.
“They all enable care to be delivered closer to patients’ homes and save them from travelling to a general hospital.
“The new facility completes the improvements agreed by the public consultation in 2007, which has seen our inpatient stroke rehabilitation services transfer to Wansbeck General Hospital and inpatient elderly care provided at the Whalton Unit on the Morpeth Cottage Hospital site.”
The Whalton Unit, based in a Helen McArdle care home (Foxton Court), will remain on the cottage hospital site. It has 30 beds, which provide rehabilitation for the elderly and palliative care.
The new building is designed with energy efficiency and carbon reduction in mind and aims to reduce CO2 output and energy consumption.
Sian Rankin, construction manager at contractor Laing O’Rourke, said: “We’re very pleased with the progression of the centre and confident that the patients will enjoy their new surroundings once they move in.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with the NHS and be a part of creating a state-of-the-art facility for the people of Morpeth.”