STOCKTON Council is continuing to work with NHS Stockton-on-Tees to bring about the multi million integrated health centre in Billingham.
Work is ongoing to secure the £35 million PFI credits from the Department of Health, which the Council has been allocated in principle for the scheme.
The Integrated Health and Social Care facility would provide access to a whole range of services including:
- Adults and children's integrated service area (social services)
- PCT Integrated care services offering care related to podiatry, heart clinics and dermatology (exact services to be determined)
- Three GPs
- Council's Customer Service Centre
- Resource rooms
The proposed location for this state-of-the-art centre is on the current site of Billingham Council Offices and Billingham Art Gallery. The services currently located in these buildings will either be re-located within the new facilities or rehoused in existing Council accommodation.
Service delivery will be greatly improved and made more efficient as local people will be able to access all the services under one roof in a modern, high-quality building.
Alongside these proposals, the PFI Credits will pay for a 50 two-bedroom unit Extra Care Scheme in Billingham Town Centre. It is proposed to locate this on the site of Billingham Community Centre and the adjacent car park - the land is all owned by Stockton Council.
The proposals are not finalised, as yet, but if feasible they would deliver further investment for Billingham's future.
If they do go ahead, the services that the Adult Education staff currently provide, within the Community Centre would re-provided in new fit for purpose accommodation in either the Extra Care or Integrated Health and Social Care sites. Similarly local community groups which currently use the Community Centre would have the opportunity to access these new facilities.
Stockton Council has already started to talk to Community Centre staff and will be speaking with users next week to ensure their initial and continued input into the proposals.
The proposed locations will ensure strong linkages to the Town Centre, the £15 million refurbished Forum and John Whitehead Park.
A planning brief, which will set out the broad principles for site development, will be presented at Planning Committee in February.
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, said: "These are fantastic proposals for the people of Billingham and the wider Borough - Extra Care schemes really do cater for all. Residents can use all the nearby Town Centre facilities and likewise, members of the public can use what is on offer inside - quite often a café or hairdressers.
"These new facilities will help us deliver higher quality care for the local community, right on their doorstep."
Ali Wilson, Director of Health Systems and Estates for NHS Stockton-on-Tees and NHS Hartlepool, said: "The integrated health centre will mean local people will be able to have more of their care closer to home without needing to travel to hospital."