New health centre in good shape

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

A new multi-million pound health centre in Thetford is shaping up ahead of schedule.

A new multi-million pound health centre in Thetford is shaping up ahead of schedule.

Officials expressed their delight yesterday with the one-stop community shop, which is now six months away from completion.

The £4m project, in Mundford Road, will eventually replace the rundown Thetford Cottage Hospital and will provide a range of new services for the town.

Corah Carney, for the developer Norlife, said the healthy living centre could be opened ahead of schedule.

“We are really pleased with the way it is progressing. Fortunately, we were allowed on site early, which has meant we are ahead of schedule and hopeful for completion by the end of December with an opening in April 2007,” she said.

The shell of the modern two- storey building, next to Thetford Football Club, has been completed and its timber-clad frame aims to complement its neighbouring £3.5m business innovation centre and development of the leisure centre.

Once finished, the health centre will include the cottage hospital's existing services such as physiotherapy, chiropody, and x-ray departments. It will encompass a GP surgery, which will become an expansion of the School Lane practice, providing doctors and nurse practitioners for at least 4,000 patients.

Other features will include a new minor injuries unit, a community dental team, children and family services, and office space for NHS staff.

The centre has been financed through a LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust), which is similar to a Private Finance Initiative, and will be leased by the South Norfolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) from Norlife.

Mrs Carney said the PCT was now appealing for townsfolk to come up with an official name for the new community building.

“It is not a like-for-like replacement, this is something more. The emphasis is on healthy living and positive living rather than a hospital where you come to be treated. I think it will become a focal point for the town.”

“The cottage hospital is too small, it is bursting at the seams, it is run down and costs a lot of money to maintain. People currently have to go to Bury St Edmunds for their health services. This healthy living centre will allow more services to be delivered closer to Thetford,” she said.

Name suggestions for the health centre should be sent to Corah Carney, at Norlife, 9-10 Plowright Place, Swaffham, Norfolk, PE37 7LQ. The winning entry will receive a £50 prize.

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