17 August 2010,

Medway LIFTCo - Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre Opens to the Public

Balmoral Gardens, Medway's newest healthy living centre, opened on 2 August.

Inside the £4.7million state-of-the-art building in the centre of Gillingham, doctors, nurses, speech and language therapists, midwives, health visitors and many other staff are getting ready for the arrival of the first patients.

Despite the unusually snowy winter, the healthy living centre, which is the "greenest" NHS building in Medway, is opening on time and on budget.

The first floor will house three GP practices: the Kingsley House branch surgery of St Werburgh Medical Practice, Dr Raval's Balmoral Road branch, and the St Barnabas House practice from Duncan Road.

On the second floor, there will be clinics for people with diabetes, heart problems, leg ulcers, other wounds and foot problems, as well as for people needing physiotherapy, family planning, continence care, occupational health, and community alcohol services. There will be speech and language therapy services for children and services to support children and young people's emotional wellbeing, as well as antenatal clinics run by midwives and baby clinics run by health visitors.

On the ground floor, along with waiting areas and meeting rooms, there will be a pharmacy, run by Paydens, which will be open from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 6pm on Sunday. The pharmacy is opening in September.

Marion Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of NHS Medway, said: "This new healthy living centre allows us to provide 21st century healthcare in a 21st century building in the centre of Gillingham.

It replaces a building which was in poor condition and it will help local people to make full use of the health services available to care for them and to support them to improve their health."

Balmoral Gardens has been brought into being thanks to a partnership between NHS Medway, which funded the project, Medway Council which made available the land on which it has been built, and Medway Community Estates Ltd, the LIFTCo which built and will maintain the centre.

Paul Evans, Chief Executive of Medway Community Estates Ltd, said: "This project would not have come to fruition without substantial time and investment committed by NHS Medway, Medway Council and Medway Community Estates, this is a true example of a successful partnership. Credit must be given to Rydon Construction, the builder, for overcoming some of the worst weather conditions in decades and with assistance from the development team, still completed the project on time."

Medway Council's Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr Tom Mason said: "This healthy living centre will be a real benefit to the whole community in Gillingham."

The land around the centre will now be landscaped to make a pleasant place for people to sit in the centre of Gillingham, and provide a play area for children.

There will be a formal opening for the centre once this work has been completed.

For further information please contact Medway LIFTCo