Work starts on £18m health centre

NATIONAL contractors Gleesons have started work on an ambitious project to build an £18m state-of-the-art health centre in Colchester.The primary care centre, which is being built on land adjacent to Colchester General Hospital, has been made possible because of NHS LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust), a Government initiative for improving and developing primary and community services.

NATIONAL contractors Gleesons have started work on an ambitious project to build an £18m state-of-the-art health centre in Colchester.

The primary care centre, which is being built on land adjacent to Colchester General Hospital, has been made possible because of NHS LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust), a Government initiative for improving and developing primary and community services.

Colchester Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Tendring PCT are working jointly on a LIFT initiative to provide many modern primary and community health facilities for the people of Colchester and Tending in the years ahead.

Last week, a company called Realise Health Ltd was established to oversee NHS LIFT projects in Colchester and Tendring over the next 20 years.


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Former Colchester GP, Dr Sue O'Connell, its public sector director, said that patients, the public and staff would all benefit from the massive investment in facilities made possible by LIFT.

"Not only has work started on the primary care centre in Colchester but it is has also just got under way on a new Dovercourt Health Centre and new Harwich Hospital," she said.

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"And early next year, work will begin on a new £1m health and community centre at Highwoods which will be bigger and better than the Bluebell Resource Centre which it is replacing.

"In Colchester alone, we have plans for about a dozen developments which include new GP and community clinic facilities in Wivenhoe, Tiptree and Mersea Island."

The Gleeson Group, a national construction and property development company with an annual turnover in excess of £620m, is carrying out the work on the primary care centre.

Work has just started on site and a number of buildings previously owned by the old New Possibilities NHS Trust have already been demolished.

The primary care centre is due to open early in 2006. Preparations are being made for a formal turf-cutting ceremony next month.

Plans for the three-storey Colchester Primary Care Centre were devised following extensive meetings and discussions between Colchester PCT's private sector partner, independent property and finance firm the Mill Group, PCT staff and others. Members of the public also had a chance to study and comment on the plans.

The reception area will contain information displays and a café area. Ground floor services will include community dentistry, podiatry, a chronic disease management centre (including care of chronic heart and lung disorders) and diagnostic testing.

It will also have a state-of-the-art child development centre that will provide services particularly for children with disabilities. A major development will be a 20-station renal dialysis unit, reducing the need for residents needing this type of treatment to leave the borough.

On the first floor will be community services support together with child and family consultation services, learning disabilities children's outreach team and a diabetes centre. Colchester PCT's headquarters will occupy the second floor.

Colchester Primary Care Centre, which will occupy a 2.1-hectare site, will have a total of 238 parking spaces and also facilities for cyclists.

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