A new health facility for Barrow is now a step closer to becoming a reality following the sale by Cumbria County Council of the former Alfred Barrow School site to eLIFT Cumbria Limited.
The milestone is the next step towards the development of a new £12 million NHS health centre that will support wider economic regeneration in Barrow and provide the local community with easy access to a wide range of health and wellbeing facilities delivered from modern, high quality premises.
The new centre, based in the town centre at Duke Street, will be developed by eLIFT Cumbria and will bring together a number of GP practices under one roof, working alongside a range of community health services, currently provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The centre will also potentially provide a base for the North West Ambulance Service, district nursing, physiotherapy as well as mental health services including psychiatric nursing and counselling.
This new state of the art health facility will also accommodate a pharmacy, a Children’s Centre, a Rehab and Physiotherapy centre and Social Workers. Six local GP surgeries are expected to move into the building.
In addition to clinical services, the building is expected to contain space to provide for other activities that support both the clinicians and the public in achieving better health outcomes. The building will therefore become the main ‘hub’ in Barrow for patients and professionals in delivering care to achieve this.
The new build will see the original listed school building incorporated into the development, with the remaining demolished to make way for the health centre and free car parking for patients on the site. The significant remaining space will be kept for any future potential expansion, ensuring the site is future proofed for any additional services.
Dr Geoff Jolliffe (pictured below: far right), GP Lead for Furness, said: “This is great news following a lot of hard work by the Commissioning Group, the Partnership Trust and local GP’s in securing the funding and agreeing the move. It is a big step forward in providing a new and exciting development that will significantly improve health provision for the residents of Barrow-in-Furness.
“It will offer the chance to address many of the issues resulting from health inequalities and poorly resourced services for the residents of Barrow and also help attract new doctors and health care professionals to the area. Currently recruitment of staff is a major problem both locally and nationally.
I want to thank Cumbria County Council for all it has done to enable eLIFT Cumbria to buy the site and I look forward to the development starting as soon as possible.”
Stewart Young (pictured below: centre), Leader of Cumbria County Council commenting on the handover of Alfred Barrow School said: “This is a great development for Barrow and I am delighted that by working together we have created a safe and secure future for the former Alfred Barrow School site. A future that still sees it being used by a public sector organisation who will use it to deliver essential public health services to the people of Barrow. This is an exciting project and one that is extremely important to us now that the council shares responsibility for the health and well-being of Cumbria’s Residents.”
Tristan Firth (pictured below: second from right), eLIFT Cumbria Limited Development Manager said: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with our public sector colleagues to deliver this much needed facility for the residents of Barrow.”
From left to right: County councillor Jo Stephenson, Cumbria County Council deputy leader County councillor Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for children’s services County councillor Stewart Young, Cumbria County Council leader Tristan Firth of e LIFT and Dr Geoff Jolliffe, GP Lead for Furness
Funding for the new health centre has been provided by NHS England and further details of where and when the members of the public are able to view the final design and plans will be publicised shortly.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Barrow Borough Council later this year. Work will start on construction in 2015 with the new Health Centre expected to be ready to receive patients by 2016.