Investment plans for Beccles Health Centre

PATIENTS in Beccles are to benefit from improved facilities after health chiefs agreed a programme of investment. NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney’s board approved a business case to provide extra capacity at Beccles Health Centre at a meeting on Wednesday.

The work comes after the primary care trust (PCT) completed an �800,000 refurbishment of Beccles Hospital.

The �209,000 second phase will see existing space in the health centre refurbished and transformed into additional consulting rooms, while work will begin on creating a new waiting area.

During the next financial year, it is hoped a lift will be added to improve access for disabled or older patients and that some enabling works will take place with a view to relocating the pharmacy in the future.

Longer-term plans for the Beccles site, costing an estimated �1.4m, will be the subject of a bid for funding from NHS East of England in 2011/12.

It is hoped an extension will be added to the health centre to provide office space and a staff and training room, while a new pharmacy will be created in a building next to the hospital.

Kate Gill, director of corporate affairs at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “This investment once again underlines our commitment to ensuring our patients can access high quality services closer to home in a modern, fit for purpose environment.

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“The GP practice in Beccles has grown considerably over the years, and is now the largest in the PCT area with more than 20,000 registered patients. As such, it has significantly outgrown its current premises and urgently needs additional capacity from which to provide services.

“We are delighted that the board has agreed to a scheme which will not only improve the environment for patients, but also for staff at the practice.”

A report to the PCT board said the programme of work would provide the following facilities:

The health centre building would have 13 ground-floor consult/exam rooms; eight first-floor consult/exam rooms; office/reception area/interview room and storage.

A new extension next to the health centre would have office space, a staff room and training room.

There would be a new pharmacy in the old mortuary building, which would be converted and extended.

The report says this would result in an increase from 16 clinical rooms to 21, all located in the health centre.

Pam Hardman, chairman of Beccles Medical Centre’s Patient Participation Group, welcomed the news and said: “Obviously I am very pleased. I think it secures the future of Beccles Hospital and the health centre much more by having this work done.

“The work they have done in the hospital so far, the alterations there are extremely user-friendly.

“We are going to look forward to the completion of the health centre in the near future because there is also a great need.

“From the patients’ point of view things will be much improved.”