16 March 2011,

Medway Community Estates Ltd - Balmoral Gardens Community Healthy Living Centre Officially Opens

The latest innovation to improve healthcare in Medway was officially opened on Tuesday, 1 March.

The £4.7million state-of-the-art Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre was declared open by some of the patients who use the centre, Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti and NHS Medway's Acting Chief Executive Helen Buckingham.

The colourful three-storey building, which started providing services last August, is home to three GP practices, a pharmacy, health clinics and specialist services.

It is also the "greenest" NHS building in Medway, scoring "excellent" on all the environmental standards.

The first floor houses three GP practices: the Kingsley House branch surgery of St Werburgh Medical Practice, Dr Rahman's practice which has moved from Balmoral Road, and the St Barnabas House practice which has moved from Duncan Road.

On the second floor clinics are run by health visitors, midwives, school nurses, the child and adolescent support team, contraceptive and sexual health services, community alcohol services, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists (specialists in foot health) and more.

And on the ground floor, along with waiting areas, meeting rooms and the community cafe, Paydens pharmacy is open seven days a week and late into the evenings from Monday to Saturday.

Norma's a catering company based in Chatham, was picked to run the cafés in Medway's Healthy Living Centres for 12 months after its plans for tasty, healthy, well-priced meals and snacks impressed health managers.

Helen Buckingham said: "Balmoral Gardens is the fourth Healthy Living Centre to open in Medway, providing 21st century healthcare in a 21st century building in the centre of Gillingham.

"Having a number of health and social care services under one roof makes it easier for people to get the care they need, close to home, and supports our drive to empower people to make the sort of choices about their own lives which improve their health.

"It's also a stunning landmark and a great place for people to meet and relax."

New mum Ana Martinez has used the GP and health visitor service since she moved to England last October. Ana and her husband Antony, who is a Royal Engineer, live in Brompton Barracks with their son William, who was born on New Year's Day. The centre is close by, making it easy for Ana to visit her GP and health visitor for regular check-ups.

Ana, 40, said: "It's such a great service and a really clean and comfortable building. Everyone has been so helpful and professional with me. They've weighed my baby, given us regular check-ups and really care about our welfare."

Rehman Chishti MP said: "Having previously experienced treatment at Balmoral Gardens myself, I have first-hand experience of the excellent service provided at the centre and by all the staff.

"This flagship centre demonstrates the continued commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives in Medway."

For further information please contact Medway Community Estates Ltd