A brand new state-of-the-art health centre, which will bring quicker and smoother services for patients, is being built in Brixton.
The Akerman Health Centre is taking shape on the corner of Patmos Road and Akerman Road and is due to open to patients later this summer.
It has been developed with the direct involvement of local people in the design of the building, and the planning of its healthcare services.
Three nearby GP practices - Myatts Field Medical Practice, Foxley Square Surgery, and Iveagh House Surgery on Loughborough Road - will move into the new centre when it is complete.
It will also bring services usually provided in hospitals, such as blood testing and some minor surgery, closer to patients. These services will be brought in to the Akerman Health Centre by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
There will be access to mental health services, including a specialist outreach service provided by the South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
Adult social care services will be provided by the London Borough of Lambeth. The Centre will be a base for district nursing, specialist dentistry, the care of long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and maternity services for people in Brixton.
Work is progressing well and a 'topping out' ceremony, held when the last roof beam of a new building is put in place, was attended by all the partners involved in the centre's development.
Representatives of NHS Lambeth, Lambeth Council, the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Collaborative Board (LCCB), the developers Building Better Health and construction firm Willmott Dixon all wrote their names on a commemorative stone, which was then cemented into the roof.
Dr Adrian McLachlan, a local GP and the chair of the Lambeth LCCB, the group of clinicians who will be authorised to plan and buy healthcare services for Lambeth from April 2013, said: "The great strength of the Akerman Health Centre will be its bringing together, under one roof, of the healthcare and social care services that people living and working in Lambeth will need to stay well and healthy.
"We hope that the centre will also bring shorter waiting times and better access to services for patients.
"For us as clinical commissioners, reducing inequalities and improving healthcare for people in Lambeth is a priority, and the Akerman Health Centre will go some way to achieving this."
The topping out ceremony was also attended by Lambeth councillors Steve Bradley and Adrian Garden, as well as GPs from the three nearby practices which will eventually move into the new building.
Steve Cooper of Willmott Dixon said: "Akerman Road is the latest of a number of similar centres we are delivering across London. The 'topping out' ceremony marks a significant milestone in the delivery of this scheme and we now look forward to completing the construction work in the summer. We will, however, be sorry to leave the community whom we have thoroughly enjoyed helping with several local initiatives."
Funding was provided through the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme.
This is a public private partnership between Building Better Health, a private sector development partner set up in 2003 to bid for NHS LIFT projects in Greater London, and the NHS in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. It provides funding for brand new health and social care facilities which are then leased to the public sector, including NHS organisations and GPs.
The Akerman Health Centre is the fifth new building to be opened as part of the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham LIFT partnership: the others in Lambeth are the health and social care centres in Gracefield Gardens and Baldry Gardens.
Wayne Walbrook, the Operations Manager for Building Better Health, said:
"We are delighted with the progress of the Akerman Health Centre, which will be the third LIFT project we have built with NHS Lambeth and the 11th across South and West London. It will provide a fantastic new centre for integrated, local health and social care services for patients in Brixton."
For further information please contact Building Better Health Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham LIFTCo