State-of-the-art practice to open in Loddon

THE finishing touches were this week being put to a new �3m state-of-the-art medical centre which is about to open its doors in Loddon.

After five years of planning, the Chet Valley Medical Practice will welcome its first patients on Tuesday.

The practice will cater for about 8,000 patients from Loddon and the surrounding areas and replaces the town's Church Plain Surgery.

Dr Andrew Godfrey, a partner at the surgery, said that its 35 staff, including six doctors, would be moving into the new facilities over the weekend.

The new purpose-built building in George Lane boasts a large waiting room, dispensary, 11 GP consultancy rooms and a midwife/physio room. A plasma screen in the waiting room will provide patients with information about services available.

The building also has a number of treatment rooms and a hospital grade operating theatre, which will enable local people to undergo minor operations at the practice instead of going to hospital.

Dr Godfrey said he was delighted with the new facility and that it had taken years of hard work to get the project off the ground.

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He said the new building was badly needed as the town's current medical centre was based in a 17th century building which is not fit for purpose.

'It is great news for local patients,' said Dr Godfrey. 'I am really pleased. It has taken years of hard work which involved finding the land, getting the planning permission and sorting out the funding.'

He added: 'This is going to be a dream in comparison to what we currently have. It is what patients deserve.'

'We have got room to expand and to offer new services. Diagnostic services, such as an echo cardiograph, can be done here instead of patients going to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. We are working on getting diagnostic ultrasound, and the breast unit can come here. Everything has been done to the highest, modern specifications.'

As well as meeting, staff and admin rooms, the building also has a large health education room.

Dr Godfrey and his colleague John Morgan are both honorary senior lecturers at the University of East Anglia medical school and this education room will be used to train medical students who want to become GPs.

The plan for the old surgery building is for it to be converted to residential use.

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