Barking's new Child and Family Centre, which houses a GP surgery along with mental health and therapy services for adolescents and children, has been officially opened by Minister of State for Health Services, Mike O'Brien, and Barking MP, Margaret Hodge.
Mr O'Brien and Mrs Hodge were joined at the opening of the Child and Family Centre by Maureen Worby, Chair of NHS Barking and Dagenham, and Jack Knowles, Chairman of Barking Dagenham Havering Community Ventures.
The Child and Family Centre is part of NHS Barking and Dagenham's development programme, which aims to improve health services in the borough and make them more accessible to local people.
The Child and Family Centre contains services from NHS Barking and Dagenham and the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT). It also has a GP surgery operated by Concordia Health, which is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Among the services included at the facility are:
child and adolescent mental health services
audiology (hearing tests and treatment)
community dental services
child development centre
speech and language therapy services
children's safeguarding service
Health information centre which employs 90 medical and support staff.
Mike O'Brien QC MP, Minister of State for Health Services, said: "I am delighted to be opening Barking and Dagenham Child and Family Centre today which is already making a huge difference in improving access to healthcare for local children and families.
"Centres like this one are opening up and down the country, complementing services provided by existing practices. The centres are proving popular with patients who have told us that they want to be able to see a GP at times convenient to them and to access a wide range of services previously only available at hospitals."
Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, said: "What residents tell me time and time again is that they want good quality healthcare and the nearer the better. Taken with the new BarkingHospital in Upney Lane which will be completed next year and new GP practices being built elsewhere in the borough, this is a big step forward in the provision of health services for local residents."
Maureen Worby, Chair of NHS Barking and Dagenham, said: "The opening of the Child and Family Centre is the latest step in an ongoing programme to expand and improve health services in the borough, so we can continue to meet the needs of all sections of the local community. Our aim is to give local people the health facilities they want and need in locations close-by to where they live. As well as providing GP access to more than 6,000 residents, this facility offers top quality diagnosis and treatment designed specifically for the borough's children and young people, including dental services, speech therapy, hearing tests and mental health advice. I would like to thank everyone involved in its development."
Jack Knowles, Chairman of Barking Dagenham Havering Community Ventures, said: "We are delighted and proud to be opening our tenth Health Centre which is the seventh developed in our partnership with NHS Barking and Dagenham. We are confident this centre will bring substantial benefits to the local community and look forward to being part of its ongoing success."
The £12m Child and Family Centre was commissioned by NHS Barking and Dagenham and has been developed by Barking Dagenham Havering Community Ventures. The building forms part of the Barking Town Centre regeneration, which is a joint partnership between the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
For further information please contact Barking Dagenham Havering Community Ventures Ltd LIFTCo on 01708 776 850 or Denise.Grehan@bdhcv.co.uk