Site secured for £12m development
A new health facility for Barrow is now a step closer to becoming a reality following the sale by Cumbria County Council of the former Alfred Barrow School site to eLIFT Cumbria.
The milestone is the next step towards the development of a new £12m NHS health centre that will support wider economic regeneration in Barrow and provide the local community with easy access to a wide range of health and wellbeing facilities delivered from modern, high-quality premises.
The new centre, based in the town centre at Duke Street, will be developed by eLIFT Cumbria and will bring together a number of GP practices under one roof, working alongside a range of community health services, currently provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The centre will also potentially provide a base for the North West Ambulance Service, district nursing, physiotherapy as well as mental health services including psychiatric nursing and counselling.
In addition, the state-of-the-art health facility will accommodate a pharmacy, a children’s centre, a rehab and physiotherapy centre, and space for social workers. Six local GP surgeries are expected to move into the building.
In addition to clinical services, the building will contain space to provide for other activities that support both the clinicians and the public in achieving better health outcomes. The building will therefore become the main ‘hub’ in Barrow for patients and professionals in delivering care to achieve this.
The new build will see the original listed school building incorporated into the development, with the remaining demolished to make way for the health centre and free car parking for patients on the site. The significant remaining space will be kept for any future potential expansion, ensuring the site is futureproofed for any additional services.
Dr Geoff Jolliffe, GP lead for Furness, said: “This is great news following a lot of hard work by the commissioning group, the trust and local GPs in securing the funding and agreeing the move. It is a big step forward in providing a new and exciting development that will significantly improve health provision for the residents of Barrow-in-Furness.
“It will offer the chance to address many of the issues resulting from health inequalities and poorly-resourced services for the residents of Barrow and also help attract new doctors and health care professionals to the area. Currently recruitment of staff is a major problem both locally and nationally.”
Funding for the new health centre has been provided by NHS England. A planning application is expected to be submitted to Barrow Borough Council later this year and work will start on construction in 2015 with the new health centre expected to be ready to receive patients by 2016.