Health centre gets the go ahead

HEALTH bosses have rubber-stamped a multi-million pound scheme to build a state-of-the-art health facilities in north Essex including a community hospital.

HEALTH bosses have rubber-stamped a multi-million pound scheme to build a state-of-the-art health facilities in north Essex including a community hospital.

Essex Strategic Health Authority yesterdaygave final approval for two privately-financed projects to build a new hospital and health centre in Harwich and a primary care centre in Colchester.

It is hoped work will start in June on the new Dovercourt Health Centre and Harwich Hospital, which will be developed on the site of the current hospital, in Main Road.

The two-storey building will house a GP surgery for eight doctors, an outpatients' department, and rehabilitation and minor injury units on the ground floor and an inpatients' department, theatres, maternity, administration and communal facilities on the first floor.

The Colchester primary care centre will be located near the town's General Hospital, south of the entrance to the old Turner Village hospital.

A variety of services will be based there, including: a child and development centre; children's community services; child and family consultation unit; a diabetes centre; renal dialysis unit; a chronic disease management centre; enhanced services suite for care of chronic heart and lung disorders; podiatry; and community dentistry. All these services will be supported by a diagnostic centre.

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Dovercourt Health Centre and Harwich Hospital will cost £13.3million and the Colchester care centre will cost £18m.

The two projects are part of the new NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) initiative.

The Mill Group has been chosen as the private-sector partner for Colchester and Tendring Primary Care Trusts (PCT) in developing the schemes.

Tendring PCT chief executive chief executive Paul Unsworth said: “We are very delighted this final hurdle has been cleared and we now look forward to proceeding with the real work of constructing the new hospital, which we hope will start in June.”