02 May 2007, North

Prime Minister Tony Blair opens Wigan LIFT's Platt Bridge scheme


Platt Bridge Community First is an extended school development which brings together a wide range of public services in state of the art buildings in one of Wigan Boroughs most deprived Wards.

The £13million complex includes the following facilities:

  • Primary school

  • Surestart Children's Centre

  • Nursery

  • Family Centre

  • Public Library

  • LA Housing Office

  • Health Centre

Platt Bridge Community Health Centre

The Health Centre is the 6th to be developed under Wigan's LIFTCo, Foundation for Life, in Tranche 3 of their development plans. Besides housing the usual services expected in a Health Centre, Ashton. Leigh & Wigan PCT agreed to transfer a range of specialist children's services onto the campus to compliment the role of the extended school. An example of the advantages of this approach is that it has allowed for the first time the full integration of Children's Therapy services for children with complex needs with purpose-designed assessment and treatment areas.

The full range of services provided is:

  • Community Services - District Nursing, Counselling, Dietetics, Health Visiting, School Nursing, Family Planning, Midwifery, Podiatry, Child Health clinics, Speech & Language Therapy and other visiting clinicians.

  • GP practices with the capacity to increase the number of GPs as this is an under-doctored area.

  • Physiotherapy department

  • Hydrotherapy which is a borough-wide facility

  • Base for Community Matrons

  • Children's Therapy Teams - OT, Physio and S<

  • Children's Hearing Service - joint health and education team

  • Primary Care Children's Mental Health Team

  • Minor Surgery Suite

  • Pharmacy

The Official Opening

The Prime Minister agreed to open the site at the request of Mr Ian McCartney, MP for Makerfield. Mr McCartney had taken a personal interest in the project from the start and was instrumental in ensuring that any barriers the Project Team encountered were overcome and they had his full support at all times.

Mr Blair was clearly impressed with the partnership working across and between public and private organisations which allowed the various elements of the project to be delivered on time and within budget. He was also impressed with the quality of the facilities provided both on the school and health centre sites.

At the unveiling of the site plaque, Mr Blair said the following:

"I am humbled by the effort that has gone into making this vision happen, it is really one of the most magnificent things I have seen. This is a facility that is world class. It is a symbol of how, with the right creativity, imagination and vision, you can effect change. The new way of delivering new services is an example that should be followed across the country."

Mr Blair met a range of health staff and asked questions on the types of patients they would see and on the range of services they could now provide in the new facility. He wanted to know how the new facilities would improve their patients' experiences and their working lives.

The Health Centre opened to patients on Monday 23rd April and will become fully operational by the last week in May.