Jed health centre refurb gets the green light

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A NEAR-£3million project to refurbish and extend Jedburgh Community Health Centre has been given the green light with NHS Borders awarding the construction contract to Border Construction Ltd, writes Mark Entwistle.

Work on the £2.68million project, which includes all construction, design costs, furniture, fittings and equipment, is due to begin next month with completion expected by spring 2012.

The health centre in the town’s Queen Street will be substantially re-developed on its current site. As well as housing the medical practice in improved surroundings, it will accommodate a comprehensive primary healthcare team, including the existing orthodontic service and expanded dental facilities.

Jedburgh is one of three new or improved community health facilities that NHS Borders is committed to providing, with around £7million earmarked to invest in facilities in Lauder and Galashiels, as well as Jedburgh.

NHS chairperson Mary Wilson said she was pleased to see the plans for the centre in Jedburgh progressing.

“The redevelopment of this health centre will mark an important step forward in improving health care for people in the Jedburgh area.

Sandy Scott, a non-executive director on NHS Borders’ board, as well as a Jedburgh councillor, added: “The extension and refurbishment of this health centre will be a major boost for local health services and will enable us to provide high-quality health care in modern facilities.”

John Moore, construction dDirector of Border Construction, said the project would continue the long and successful relationship developed over the years between his company and NHS Borders.

“Border Construction is also pleased that our appointment as main contractor for the project will assist in sustaining local employment through our local employees and local supply chain, allowing a high proportion of the project value to remain in the Scottish Borders economy.”

Dr Graham Cook, GP at Jedburgh Community Health Centre, is also pleased at the news.

He said: “We are delighted that the redevelopment is about to start.  We hope that the expanded facilities will allow us to offer an increased range of services to the people of Jedburgh.”

During the construction period, many services will continue to operate from the health centre, including GPs, nursing treatment, podiatry and physiotherapy. However some services will need to relocate temporarily and patients will be advised if services they use are affected.

On the question of a new health centre for Galashiels, TheSouthern has received a report claiming that staff and patients are becoming frustrated at what they see as a lack of progress.

NHS Borders revealed a year ago its £7million proposal for three new health centres for Galashiels, Jedburgh and Lauder and that the Roxburgh Street Medical Practice in Galashiels would move to the new health centre which would be on a nearby brownfield site.

Health chiefs anticipated all three would be opened in 2012. Asked this week for an update on progress on identifying a site for the new Galashiels centre, David McLuckie, director of estates and facilities for NHS Borders, said the organisation was committed to the project.

But he added: “As a result of the national spending review, NHS Borders – like all boards – is considering its priorities for capital investment, so we are currently looking at innovative ways to progress this important project.”