Engineers have started building a new £9m super GP surgery for Hereford.
The Hereford Medical Centre building at Station Approach will have 30,677 sq ft of floorspace over three floors and will house five city GP surgeries.
Herefordshire Council planners approved the scheme last year but councillors were highly critical of its ‘monolithic style’ design.
Hereford Medical Health Group bosses say the new centre will provide a modern and inviting healthcare environment for patients who currently access the Greyfriars, Moorfield House, Aylestone Hill, King Street or Sarum House surgeries.
The five city practices will be located under one roof once the purpose-built Hereford Medical Centre is completed in 2020.
They say the move will provide a more sustainable and efficient primary care service for the community.
The Quay House and South Wye medical centres along with the Bobblestock Surgery will remain open.
The £9m project is the biggest ever single investment in primary care for Herefordshire.
The construction is being financed by both the specialist health and care developer Prime Plc and NHS England, which awarded the scheme £2.1m from its Estates, Technology and Transformation Fund.
Prime executive chairman Richard Laing said: “We have been working closely with the Hereford Medical Group, NHS Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Herefordshire Council for five years to bring these exciting plans to fruition, so we are very pleased that we have been able to secure the investment needed to make our collective ambitions a reality and to be here today to see the building work commence.
“It’s a truly landmark scheme for Hereford and one which will not only have a positive impact on patient care but being the first major scheme along the new link road will also provide a platform for the wider development in this part of the City.
“Prime has developed over one hundred health centres across the UK and Republic of Ireland so, as a local, it’s great to be finally undertaking a project in my hometown.”
The NHS Herefordshire CCG approached NHS England for ETTF support for the scheme in 2016 and was pleased that the significance of the project to the local area was recognised and that funding was awarded to part-finance the scheme.
Dr Ian Tait, GP and Clinical Chair for NHS Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is an important step for the development of primary care in Herefordshire.
“It continues our journey to transform services around Primary Care Networks that serve local populations as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan earlier this year.
“This will be an important resource for the county and is timely for Hereford with the development of the new university.”
Dr Jonathan Duffett, GP Partner at Hereford Medical Group said: “We are very pleased to see construction work starting on the new Surgery development.
“It’s great to be looking forward to a fit for purpose modern primary care building for Hereford City.
“It provides for us an appropriate environment to deliver health care for decades to come with better facilities, accessibility and the flexibility to change with future needs.
“This is really good news and we are most grateful for the support of the CCG, the council, NHS England and Prime over the years of planning to achieve this vision.”