Following the Financial Close of the scheme on 20th May 2008, Care Partnerships 25 Ltd, the LIFT Co for Tees Valley and South Durham, started work on site at the end of June to construct the 6500 m2 facility which occupies a 2.6 acre site, conveniently located next to the main shopping centre in Hartlepool.
The state of the art facility built on 3 floors will house four GP practices on the ground floor, with a wide range of PCT services on the remainder of the ground floor and the first floor, with communal staff welfare facilities located on a third floor.
There will also be a 3rd party retail Pharmacy unit located adjacent to the main entrance of the building.
The facility will directly benefit the 94000 residents of the town, with the GP practices in the scheme catering for in excess of one third of Hartlepool's registered patients.
The range of PCT services on offer will include a Minor Operations suite, Community Dental Services, Audiology (with 3 sound booths), Speech and Language Therapy, Contraception and Sexual Health, Podiatry, Musculo-skeletal and Respiratory Services. In addition, multifunctional generic clinical spaces and counselling rooms are being provided for the delivery of Community Services and Clinics including ENT, Diabetes Screening and Low Vision Services. Service delivery will be further supported by the inclusion of flexible group rooms allowing for a range of uses such as drop-in clinics, smoking cessation clinics, obesity and dietary clinics etc.
Building work will be completed in March 2010, with service delivery scheduled from May 2010. Its completion will allow services currently scattered across town in a number of dated, functionally poor facilities to be brought together in one high quality, central location. The development will also enable an extended range of services to be provided, previously only available in the acute setting, which will greatly improve convenience to patients and clinicians alike.
The scheme has a 3 storey high central atrium running the full length of the building, which is intended to break down the massing and allow natural daylight to flood into the heart of the facility making it a light, airy space for staff and patients to navigate.
Steve Wallace, Chair of Hartlepool PCT said he was delighted at having reached this milestone: "It's fantastic to have finally reached the part of the process where the building work has started and we can begin to see the vision we have for the town becoming a reality. It will be easily accessible by all and will include services currently located within the University Hospital of Hartlepool and neighbouring hospitals, therefore allowing patients to be treated closer to home."
Ali Wilson, Director of Health Systems Development for the PCT added: "We are confident that the new facility will be something local people can be really proud of. It will provide an excellent environment in which patients can receive their care and in which health service staff can work. We will be keeping local people informed of progress, providing opportunities to view the facility during the construction and will shortly be running a local competition to name the facility. "
Scott Clarkson, Estates & Project Manager with Care Partnerships 25 Ltd, said: "Our aim with this exciting new facility has always been to provide the population of Hartlepool with an accessible, modern and pleasant to use Health Centre. This will allow the PCT to deliver a wide range of services directly from the centre of town which will have a really positive impact on the health of the people of Hartlepool. The facility has to be flexible enough to allow the PCT to tailor its services to have positive health outcomes not only in the short-term but for many years to come, and hence allow service delivery to change as the health requirements of the population change over time".
"Hartlepool is changing and developing at a rapid pace as regeneration continues to take place, and this fantastic medical centre will play a key part in the physical and social regeneration of Hartlepool."
Ron Woodworth CBE, Chair of Care Partnerships 25 Ltd added: "the project has, from start to finish been an excellent example of joint working. The majority of the site was acquired from Hartlepool Borough Council who have been very supportive of all we have been trying to achieve. The clinicians and GPs have been fully involved in the design development of the project - working closely with the users on such projects is fundamental to making them a success."