£21million of private funding to build Blackburn health centre

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: LIFT, News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Lancashire Telegraph | Catherine Pye | NHS Blackburn with Darwen | 13 August 2009

CONSTRUCTION work is set to start on Blackburn’s new health centre after £21million funding was arranged.

Building work will commence on the site near Alma Street off Barbara Castle Way in November.

The new facility, which is expected to be completed in September 2011, will replace the Montague Health Centre.

Funding has been found through private finance.

The East Lancashire Building Partnership/Eric Wright Group will build the centre and lease it back to NHS Blackburn with Darwen until all the repayments are made.

The so-called Local Improvement Finance Trust agreement is sim-ilar to the controversial Private Finance Initiative which saw the construction of the Royal Black-burn Hospital extension.

The hospital trust will repay £680million over 35 years for the £113million extension due to the interest rates. Supporters say new facilities would not be built without private finance schemes, but critics believe they are too expensive.

NHS Blackburn said it could not at this stage reveal what repay-ments or interest rates would be for the new health centre.

Services in the new health centre include audiology, speech and language, an artific-ial eye clinic, ortho-ptics, podiatry, a pharmacy,training areas and a cafe.

There will also be a 60-space car park with accessible park-ing bays. NHS Blackburn with Darwen chief executive Judith Griffin said: “We are absolutely thrilled that build-ing work can now begin on the new health facility planned for the centre of Blackburn.

“Services now based at Montague Health Centre will transfer to the new centre. In addition to transferring and expanding existing services a number of new services will be developed including a Young Persons Resource Centre.

“Working with our partners including the borough council I believe this exciting development will underpin a step change in the services we are able to provide.”

“This is a terrific investment in the regeneration of the town centre that will help us to continue to improve health and wellbeing in Blackburn with Darwen.”

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