GPs in Stoke-on-Trent, who have commissioned a new £2.6 million medical centre and pharmacy through their local LIFTCo, will soon see their plans realised as building work commences on site. The start of construction was marked by a turf cutting ceremony attended by representatives from the Practice, patients, PCT, the local LIFT Co, Prima 200 and the contractor, Thomas Vale.
Hartshill Medical Centre and Pharmacy is due for completion in autumn 2012 and is a GP led project being built in partnership with the existing Hartshill Surgery, NHS Stoke on Trent, Prime plc and the local Public Private Partnership, Prima 200, the North Staffordshire LIFT.
The project sees long-awaited plans for a new facility finally come to fruition. After putting in a bid to NHS Stoke on Trent for new accommodation, the GPs commissioned the project directly through Prima 200 with support from NHS Stoke on Trent and just 18 months after approaching LIFT, the project is now under construction. Once complete, the GPs will lease the new property from Prima 200.
This differing path to procurement opens up an alternative option for GPs, enabling them to have more control over the creation of new healthcare buildings through an efficient and approved procurement route.
Ann Pursey, Chief Executive of Prima 200, comments: "LIFT can be a highly efficient route to procurement as we've seen with Hartshill. A project that took years to get off the ground has very quickly come to fruition and will be complete in just over two years from the start of planning to completion.
"The GPs from Hartshill can utilise the LIFTCo's experience in developing healthcare buildings to ensure that everything will meet the required standards and quality, whilst at the same time helping to create a purpose-built facility that is designed specifically around their needs. With the backing of the PCT, the GPs are in direct contact with Prima 200's pre-approved suppliers, which avoids any lengthy tendering processes and ensured an efficient timetable for the planning and design stages."
The single storey 800 sq m building will provide a range of improved services, including an onsite pharmacy, for the 6,300 patients currently registered at Hartshill Surgery, as well as allowing space for the practice to grow. There will also be a multi-purpose room available for local community use.
Dr Dent, lead GP at Hartshill Surgery, commented: "Since we started working with Prima, the project has come together very quickly and it's good to see construction work get underway on the new centre. This new facility will help us improve and expand our service offering for the local community and we look forward to seeing plans that we've developed with the development and design team realised."
In addition, it will also be able to expand its minor surgery services. In particular that the practice will increase its current vasectomy clinic, helping to take pressure off the local hospital and providing support for neighbouring practices. Adequate space within the centre will also allow the practice to accommodate GP training sessions for undergraduate and postgraduates.
Its location, 400 yards away from the current premises means that users will not have to travel further to access the practice, whilst its close proximity to the high street will drive footfall into the town, benefiting the local economy.
Barbara Andrew of Hartshill and Harpfields Residents' Association, said: "Along with other members of the local community, we've been involved in plans for the Medical Centre for some time and it will be fascinating to see our ideas and input into the design come to life."
For futher information please visit Prima 200 LIFTCo