NHS patients are set to receive more convenient care and a greater choice of GPs right on their doorstep thanks to the completion of a new £12.8 million health and social care centre in Leicester.
Leicester Local Improvement Finance Trust Company (LIFT), the public private partnership specialising in providing state-of-the-art bespoke health and social care premises, has worked in partnership with NHS Leicester City to develop and deliver the new state-of-the-art Charnwood health and social care centre on Spinney Hill Road in the city. Also occupying the new building are Leicester City Council and Leicester Partnership Trust.
Redevelopment work started on the new Centre, which is Leicester LIFTCo's largest scheme to date, in January 2007 when the then Health Minister, Andy Burnham, and local MP, Keith Vaz, kicked off the demolition of the existing centre to make way for the new 6,200 m2 building. It has now been completed on-time and to budget.
Services at the new Centre, which has now opened its doors to the public, will be introduced in a number of phases. Phase one has seen East Leicester Medical Practice move into the centre. A new GP-led health centre will also start operating from the new building at the end of this month, which will allow anyone from across the city to register with a GP. The 8-8 walk-in centre will cater for everyone, even if they aren't registered with a GP, giving patients more choice.
The new building will serve a large part of the local population from the surrounding area. It will enable patients to receive more convenient, extensive medical care in the heart of their local community and provide improved access to City Council facilities.
Along with GP surgeries, it will house dental services, physiotherapy and podiatry, as well as a whole range of other services such as a pharmacy, education seminar rooms and a secure underground car park.
The Centre has been developed in a contemporary style with a real community feel, with six internal courtyards featuring artwork designed and installed by students of local schools.
It has already been the subject of considerable media attention. Earlier this year it welcomed the crew of BBC's Newsnight programme, for a live broadcast, which was filmed from the new building as part of the NHS 60th Anniversary celebrations.
Commenting on the new facility, Edward Hannah, General Manager of Leicester LIFT Co said:
"We are delighted that this state-of-the-art health centre has reached practical completion and is set to play a significant role in developing and improving the quality of health and social care services for the local community.
"The new health and social centre brings Leicester LIFTCo's first tranche investment up to £33 million, creating local jobs and improved health in the region in the process."
Sarah Prima, assistant director for Primary Care covering Estates said:
"This project has been in the planning stages for years so it's great to see it finally open and operational."
An official opening will take place later in the year.