A new medical centre has opened in Clacton, providing a long-awaited upgrade to primary care services formerly delivered in cramped and outdated accommodation.
The Kennedy Way Medical Centre provides a new base for Epping Close Surgery and Frinton Road Medical Centre.
Rita Garnett, chairman of the Frinton Road Patient Participation Group (PPG), and her husband, David, were key members of the project group formed to develop the new facility.
David said: “Local people now have a proper 21st-century medical facility, which gives them a much better patient experience with increased access to services.”
The centre houses eight consulting rooms, seven treatment rooms, a phlebotomy room, a training space for clinicians, and a digital facility enabling patients to have remote consultations.
The interior decoration is a dementia-friendly orange with beach huts painted on the walls of the main clinical corridor and a silhouette of Clacton Pier in the main waiting area.
The car park has 66 spaces allocated to the practice and will also be the site of an innovative social prescribing hub, the first phase of which is expected to be completed in the summer.
Dr Farrukh Shamshad, a partner and GP for Clacton Community Practices, which oversees the running of the centre, said: “Kennedy Way Medical Centre will be able to support almost 12,000 patients in the area, 3000 more than the two practices it replaces.
“It also frees up space at the former Epping Close surgery, which will be transformed to create an additional four dialysis stations for renal patients.
“The whole project represents much-needed investment in the health of our local population and I hope that with the additional training facilities for clinicians, it will also help us to recruit more staff locally.”
Jane Taylor, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group’s senior estates development manager, added: “We have made the best use of an existing NHS building by adapting it into a state-of-the art facility for the people of Clacton.
“It has been my pleasure to lead the project, working extensively with clinicians and local people to co-design the centre and best ensure it meets their needs and expectations.”