02 March 2010,

North Staffs LIFT - Mill Rise Officially Opened by Health Minister Mike O’Brien

Rt. Hon Mike O'Brien, Minister of State for Health Services has hailed an innovative health care and retirement village in Newcastle-under-Lyme for its provision of extra care housing and a state-of-the-art primary care centre.

Mill Rise, a £17m project, is one of the first schemes in the country to successfully integrate housing and purpose built healthcare facilities.

Seventy-eight residents have already moved into the award-winning village, developed by a pioneering partnership of eight organisations including Aspire Housing, NHS North Staffordshire and LIFTCo Prima 200.

"I'm delighted to be here today and to see the transformation that has taken place," said the Rt. Hon Mike O'Brien.

"Mill Rise provides excellent facilities for local people to enjoy and benefit from - they are facilities that the NHS and the local community can be very proud of."

The village combines 60 one and two-bedroom apartments with the Milehouse Primary Care Centre. Also included is a pharmacy, restaurant, café and hair salon.

It provides healthcare to more than 7,000 people in the local communities of Knutton and Cross Heath who are registered with the three GP practices at the centre.

Mill Rise also hosts physiotherapy, blood testing, speech and language therapy, baby clinics, nursing services and a fitness suite which provides rehabilitation.

Sinead Butters, Chief Executive of the Aspire Group, said: "Our very first extra care scheme was a complex project that has emerged as a flagship project for the regeneration of the local area.

"Mill Rise has given local older people a significantly improved quality of life by allowing them to live independently in their own homes, with easy access to vital services and flexible care and support.

"The development is a leading example of first-class partnership working. The complexity of the project and its funding, and the need to meet the differing requirements of all involved, make it an achievement of which we can all be proud."

She added: "We were delighted to welcome the Minister of Health to Mill Rise and give him the opportunity to meet some of the people who made it happen."

Pupils from Knutton St Mary's School and local MP Paul Farrelly also attended the official launch.

Tony Bruce, Chief Executive of NHS North Staffordshire, said: "This is a £17m project, which offers excellent facilities and excellent services ranging from three GP practices through to a wide range of services from speech therapy to physiotherapy.

"A total have eight partners have made this project a success and its continued success is down to the partnerships and strong working practices that have developed between the health teams based at Milehouse Primary Care Centre and the support of the local community.

"The feedback from patients has been tremendous who like the large treatment rooms and the fact that they can access so many other services at the centre from mums and tots groups, through to stop smoking sessions."

For further information please contact NHS North Staffordshire, LIFTCo Prima 200 or www.millrisevillage.co.uk