Shoppers as well as residents living in and near the city centre will be able to drop in to a new centre for health advice as part of an exciting project to bring ‘health to the High Street’.
Proposals are being worked up by the Council for a new, purpose-built health centre on the site of two demolished buildings on the corner of Market Avenue and New George Street, which back onto Colin Campbell Court.
It could include a new GP surgery, a dentists’ surgery, a sexual health clinic and mental health support and a pharmacy - all under one roof.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Mark Lowry, who is also city centre champion said:
“There are over 12,000 people on the waiting list for dentists, children’s teeth are being extracted, right here in Plymouth. We want to help our residents get healthy, and want to make it as easy for them as possible to access medical or dental support. We are bringing health to the High Street.”
The Council has been in discussion with health organisations and a decision has been signed this week to authorise £1,500,000 to develop the project further and to take it through the design development stage. The total cost of the project could be in the region of nearly £14 million.
“The location we’re looking at is incredibly convenient. It’s near bus stops and is right in the heart of the city centre, making it incredibly easy for people to pop in.
“Only this week we have taken the dated Western Approach bridge down and I know people want to know what’s next for the West End - well, this is one of the ideas we have been working on.
“This project is about this Council looking at a huge difficult problem for its residents and working with partners to come up with an answer. This also ties in neatly with our economic recovery programme Resurgam - rebuilding our city better and more equal, creating opportunities for jobs as well as helping our residents.”
Councillor Kate Taylor, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:
“We know that the health of our residents is generally not as good as the rest of England and within Plymouth, people live, on average, eight years longer in our better-off wards than they do in the poorer ones. That’s a shocking statistic.
“We are particularly keen to see more dental facilities at this location. We all know about the difficulties families face trying to find an NHS dentist.
“We are taking proactive measures to provide the site, the building and the can-do attitude and are making a concerted effort to ease pressure on our hard-pressed hospital and health staff by preventing ill health in the first place within our communities.”