Health Minister Dan Poulter has said that Colne’s new £4million health centre is leading the way in the how the NHS should be looking across other towns and cities in the UK.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Mr Poulter joined Kathryn Berry from NHS Property Services, Dr Phil Huxley from East Lancashire CCG, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, to officially open the state-of-the-art building, in Craddock Road.
Patients have been making the most of the site for the past two months, following a three month delay.
Now, everybody behind the major project has been praised for ensuring that plans were turned into a reality and that an integrated package of care has been put into place.
Mr Poulter said: “£4million has been invested in this new health centre and we have got fantastic and dedicated frontline staff looking after patients in this area. GPs, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, district nurses - they are now being supported with a government investment in a fantastic new facility.
“This is exactly how the NHS should look and needs to look in many other towns and cities. It is great that Colne can lead the way in that.
“In particular it has been the hard work of the local NHS staff that has made this a reality, but also the hard work of Andrew Stephenson, the local MP... in making sure that investment came to Colne.”
Mr Stephenson, who has had firsthand experience of the health centre after being diagnosed with gangrenous appendicitis, added: “The new health centre is a vast improvement on the old facility in Colne, which was very cramped. These new, modern, airy facilities are a real asset to the town.”
And Pendle Mayor Graham Roach, who was joined by Joanna Sagar, said: “It has taken about three to four years in negotiations - the NHS have gone through a change, money became tight, but now we have got this wonderful facility for the people of East Lancashire.”
Apart from fears the multi-million pound building could “further exacerbate parking problems” in the Newtown Street area of Colne, praise has been flooding in for the new three-storey health centre. Services from three GP practices have now moved over from the former site In Market Street.
Mr Huxley said: “This building, as most people know, has been on the cards for quite some time. It has given the practices opportunities to expand and develop.”