GP-led health centre to open its doors next week

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

NHS Norfolk | Press/News Release | 16 July 2009

Lord Mayor of Norwich to preside over opening ceremony

Thousands of patients will soon benefit from a wide range of additional, easy to access NHS health services when the £2m GP-Led Health Centre opens it doors to patients from next Tuesday.

The first of its kind within NHS Norfolk’s area, the new facility in the heart of Norwich will offer GP-led walk-in and GP registered services 365-days-a-year, alongside a number of enhanced health services.

The Timber Hill Health Centre, based in The Mall Norwich, will open its doors to all patients, who live, work or even just visit the city, from 3pm on July 21.

The centre will be the first within the whole of the county to offer X-ray services outside of a hospital setting (from November) as well as having its own minor surgery unit, offering ultra sound services and acting as an additional training centre for trainee GPs.

The centre will be managed by Norwich Practices Ltd (NPL) – a consortium of 15 Norwich GP practices, commissioned by NHS Norfolk to provide services.

On Tuesday, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Evelyn Collishaw – hosted by NHS Norfolk’s Chair Sheila Childerhouse and Director of NPL, Dr Tesh Patel – will perform the official opening ceremony at 1.15pm. (Full timings of the day at the end of this release)

This ceremony will be the central focus of a Health Promotion Roadshow being organised by NHS Norfolk throughout the morning and early afternoon. The roadshow event will take place immediately outside of the new centre, from 10am to 2pm on Level 4 within The Mall Norwich.

Cllr Collishaw said: “I am very much looking forward to performing the official opening ceremony of this fantastic new facility in the heart of Norwich.

“It will provide excellent additional healthcare services both to our own residents and workforce, as well as the many thousands of visitors who are attracted to our city every year and will be something this city can be very proud of.

“The health roadshow event will provide a perfect backdrop to this important event and will undoubtedly offer a lot of sound health advice in a fun and interactive way.”

Rt Hon Charles Clarke, MP for Norwich South, today added his support for the new facility which sits within his constituency, saying: “I congratulate NHS Norfolk and NPL on the opening of the new Timber Hill Health Centre. It will improve primary health care services for the people of Norwich and make them more accessible.”

During the roadshow, members of the public will be encouraged to visit many of the interactive ‘health displays’, finding out, for example, ‘how old their lungs are’ and receiving advice from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) specialists.

People can discover just how clean their hands are when NHS Norfolk’s Infection Control team promote good hand hygiene, shine a light on your germs with their ‘glow and tell’ machine, and offer advice on protecting yourself and others from Swine Flu.

And people can receive firsthand advice from specialists on health in the workplace; self-testing for Chlamydia; support from NHS Stop smoking advisors; as well as learning about the LIFE programme – a free NHS course which offers people of all ages the chance to not only learn all about weight management issues, but to go on to advise others on healthy living messages.

The Joy of Food programme, which aims to help people enjoy healthier food by recruiting and training volunteers to teach these skills to young people and young parents across Norfolk, will be represented alongside Change4Life, which aims to improve children’s diets and levels of activity so reducing the threat to their future health and happiness.

A number of other supporting ‘health stalls’ will be there on the day including Boots Holiday Health Advice – offering people sound advice on how to protect yourself and your children in the sun; Vision Express’s Healthy Eyes stand and the Mancroft Advice Project (MAP) will be there to discuss sexual and mental health counselling for young people.

The NHS Norfolk Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) will also be present.

Julie Garbutt, NHS Norfolk’s Chief Executive, said: “The opening of the Timber Hill Health Centre will be the culmination of months of dedication and commitment by NHS Norfolk and NPL, to increase investment, increase access and offer more choice in primary care health services.

“This new centre will offer a host of excellent, additional enhanced services to our patients as well as being our first, doctor-led walk-in service, opening at times that our patients have said is more convenient to them, all year round.

“NHS Norfolk has been determined to bring this fantastic project to fruition for the benefit of our patients. It underscores everything the primary care trust holds as its central ethos: excellent health, outstanding care and best value.”

NPL was awarded the tender to run the centre in December. From then, it has led the development of services, staffing and the build of the centre.

Dr Tesh Patel, NPL director and Clinical Director of the Timber Hill Health Centre, said: “As an experienced and established group of local GPs entering into a partnership with NHS Norfolk, we will be helping to drive forward the aim to further improve primary care services in the area, while making access so much easier for many more people.

“We have been delighted to be able to bring our experience and knowledge of local health needs to combine with that of NHS Norfolk in developing this fantastic new facility.”

The 12,500 sq ft unit within the Mall has been stripped right back to its four walls and over the past few months work has been ongoing to design and create the purpose-built health centre.

Dr Patel added: “Not only will there be excellent services and ease of access to the centre, we have also been able to design the environment from the ground up, focusing on patients’ needs and ensuring that the facilities complement how services can best be delivered.”

From day one there will be three GPs working from the centre to cover the full range of hours and services, building to five registered GPs as numbers of patients increase over time.

Services currently based at the Dussindale Walk-In Centre (WIC) are being transferred over to the new centre from opening day.

Julie Garbutt added: “We have always felt that a GP-Led service would be a vital tool in encouraging and directing people to the most appropriate point of care, which we also feel will lessen some of the pressures on A&E and Out of Hours (OOH) services.

“Health complaints of a more serious nature can be dealt with within a GP walk-in service. Within nurse-led services there are limitations as to the level of assessment, treatment and prescribing that can be provided.

“This ultimately means that patients, with a wider range of health issues, will be able to make use of the Timber Hill Health Centre and there are obvious positive knock-on effects for busy A&E and OOH services.

“We are all very much looking forward to seeing the first patients walk through its doors and begin to benefit from all that the centre has to offer them.”

Services at Timber Hill Health Centre

By the end of its first year it is estimated that around 1,200 patients may be registered with the centre’s GPs and there could be up to as many as 14 patients per hour using the walk-in, non-registered service (70,000 possible contacts throughout the whole year).

Patients will benefit from increased access to a range of core and enhanced primary care health services, as well as those normally provided by a GP practice, including:

  • The first GP-led walk-in service within NHS Norfolk, available from 7am to 9pm, 365 days-a-year
  • The first GP registered practice within NHS Norfolk, offering appointments from 8am to 8pm, 365 days-a-year
  • Some minor surgery, sexual health advice, phlebotomy (blood testing), minor injuries, additional childhood immunisations, smoking cessation; X-ray, physiotherapy and ultra sound services will roll out a short time after opening.

NPL will also provide services for its registered patients aimed at the management of long term conditions including chronic heart disease, cancer, palliative care, mental health issues, chronic kidney disease, stroke, epilepsy and dementia.

Fifteen of the 20 WIC members of staff are to transfer over to the new centre, including senior staff nurses, nurse practitioners, reception and admin staff. Five of the WIC staff will stay under their current employ with Norfolk Community Health & Care in alternative NHS posts.

A further four posts have been recruited within areas of admin and centre management roles.

Sited immediately beside the Timber Hill street-level entrance to the Mall, it offers quick access for ambulances and convenient access for patients not using cars. This also offers excellent disabled access.

The centre is directly opposite the entrance to The Mall’s Car Park 2, with free car parking in place for patients (one-hour per patient, using a token parking system) as well as being well-serviced by escalators and lifts.

With a heavy footfall of people passing through The Mall on a daily basis, its location will ensure a greater number of people will be able to easily access walk-in services. And it is located at the centre of public transport routes for people who commute into or visit the city.

Dr Patel went on to explain that the Timber Hill Health Centre is an innovative step to further integrate health, social and voluntary services, with a central focus on quality of clinical care.

The centre will work as a ‘hub and spoke system’ – all services will be available at the centre, and in addition, the GP partners will be able to deliver planned Enhanced Services within their community-based practices. This will be centred round patient need, demand and choice.

It will also act as a signposting service toward voluntary and independent sector providers, such as social care, counselling and Citizens Advice services.

Funding for the Timber Hill Centre is expected to range from £2m in Year 1 to £2.4m in Year 5, to reflect the anticipated steady increase of patients within that time.

The reallocation of funds from the nurse-led Dussindale Walk-In Centre – around £0.9m per year – will be reinvested into the new centre, and additional funds will be used from the NHS Norfolk’s growth funding, or annual ‘uplift’.

Timings of the Opening Event

10am – 2pm: NHS Norfolk Health Roadshow – open to the public, immediately in front of the Timber Hill Health Centre, Level 4, The Mall Norwich

** 10am – 11am: Media tours of the centre – staff present

Please request a tour or interviews on the day from as soon as possible

11.30am – 12.45pm: Invited guests only tours of centre

1.15pm: Official opening ceremony perform by Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Evelyn Collishaw

3pm: Doors open to patients


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