09 March 2009,

Mark Britnell officially opened Eccles Gateway Centre

Mark Britnell officially opened Eccles Gateway Centre - 9th March 2009

The new £9 million Eccles Gateway Centre, which first opened its doors to residents in November 2008, was officially opened on 19th February in a partnership between Salford City Council, Salford Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Local Improvement Finance Trust Company (MaST LIFTCo).

The three-storey, state-of-the-art Eccles Gateway Centre was officially opened by Mark Britnell, Director General of Commissioning and Systems Management at the Department of Health, in the presence of the Mayor of Salford, representatives from patients and staff, stakeholders, including private sector partner Primary Plus, and key partners. Mr Britnell, guest of honor, unveiled a commemorative plaque in the reception area during the event.

MaST LIFTCo, a public private partnership founded to support the vision of providing an accessible health service based around patients' needs with integrated primary, community, social care and other local authority services, has developed the new building in partnership with Salford City Council and Salford Primary Care Trust.

The new 2792 m2 building adjoins the impressive Grade two listed Carnegie Building, home of Eccles Library and will serve more than 7,500 residents from Eccles and the surrounding area.

It will improve services for residents as well as providing staff with a working environment that they can be proud of. People can now receive more convenient care or access to council services right on their doorstep instead of having to face longer trips to hospitals or other council offices.

Eccles Gateway has been designed with a modern look, but one that complements the traditional Carnegie Building design. It houses four GPs, a Salford City Council information and advice service, community rooms as well as services previously provided at Eccles Health Centre and Ganvir Practice on Church Street.

It will eventually have a café too. The centre also provides a whole range of services such as hearing and blood tests that were previously only available at Hope Hospital.

The building also offers improved library services, with a new Eccles children's library, which is located next to the existing adult library.

MaST LIFTCo Chief Executive Clive Pitt said at the opening:

"This new state-of-the-art health and social care centre will enable us to improve and develop health and social care services for the local community. It has been made possible through partnership working and I am delighted to see that it is already attracting some 3,000 users every week.

This scheme, along with others in Walkden and Pendleton, has inspired an ambition to improve services even further. Going forward, we and our partners are ready to rise to the challenges of delivering the correct solutions for the provider and commissioner in the current market place, and playing our part in improving the health outcomes of the communities we serve.

This will be achieved through more efficient working and will focus on delivering faster, cheaper and relevant schemes, which ultimately deliver better care, better well-being, better value and better outcomes for all concerned.

"Eccles Gateway brings the total of MaST LIFTCo health centres in Greater Manchester to 12. This equates to an investment of nearly £90 million in public services, the creation of local jobs and improving health in some of the region's most deprived communities," added Clive.

Dr Mike Burrows, Chief Executive of Salford PCT, added:

"It fills me with great pride to open Eccles Gateway - the second such centre for the people of Salford. I know from my visits to these centres that they are extremely well-used and popular facilities, binding together health and city council services under the same roof."

Cllr Joe Murphy, Salford City Council's lead member for service development and neighbourhoods said:

"Gateway centres are about bringing services close to communities and acting as focal points for neighbourhoods.

"Plans are afoot to help reinvigorate Eccles and this new centre is an important part of that by blending a recognised and much loved landmark with a 21st century facility.

"The city now has three Gateways as a result of close partnership working and I am delighted our communities are able to enjoy the benefits."

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About LIFT

LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) is a government-endorsed partnership between the public and private sectors to improve investment in healthcare in England. LIFT is a reliable long-term approach to investment that combines private sector expertise, management and investment with public sector knowledge, producing a true partnership between the public and private sectors

About MaST LIFTCo

MaST LIFTCo is owned by private sector partner Primary Plus Ltd (a joint venture between John Laing plc and Halifax Bank of Scotland), three local primary care trusts (Salford PCT, Manchester NHS PCT and Trafford PCT), along with the Department of Health's Community Health Partnerships.

MaST LIFTCo is the largest LIFT Company in England, with a portfolio of around £80million.

For more information

Karina Chilton
Marketing and Communications Manager
Primary Plus Ltd
T: 07590 010152
karina.chilton@primaryplus-online.co.uk