Cinderford has celebrated the completion of structural work on its brand new £5 million health centre with the final beam being put in place.

The purpose-built facility on Valley Road will transform GP services in the area, replacing the town’s existing health centre which houses both Dockham Road Surgery and Forest Health Care.

The milestone, which marks the next stage in construction, was celebrated by a small gathering with representatives from the two practices, the Patient Participation Group, dementia experts who offered advice on making the new building dementia-friendly, pupils from Forest High School, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, specialist development company Assura and construction company Speller Metcalfe.

At the event, the group buried a time capsule with the theme “surgery of the future”. The school children helped to fill the capsule with information about the current practice, a map of the local area, facts about the building, photos and a vision of what the children of Forest High School think a surgery of the future will be like.

The new centre is being built to modern, environmentally-friendly, state-of-the art specifications, and includes 20 multi-purpose consulting rooms, nurse treatment areas and first-rate facilities for reception and administration staff, making it a great environment for both patients and staff.

It will also have a number of features which make it a welcoming environment for people living with dementia and those with disabilities. Completion and opening is scheduled for summer 2020.

Dr Ingalill Sandys, GP at Dockham Road Surgery, said:

“It’s fantastic to have reached this stage, and to celebrate all the hard work, enthusiasm and passion which is going into creating our contemporary, new health centre.

With a growing population and existing facilities which no longer meet modern healthcare standards, we really need this new health centre to ensure we can continue to provide high quality services for years to come.

We have put a lot of thought into creating an attractive building and surrounding environment which will be welcoming to all our patients, including those with dementia.”

Dr Deborah Lane GP at Forest Health Care said:

“This is great news for our patients and staff.  The new building will help us to meet the ever-increasing health and care needs of our patients and offer a broader range of services to patients.

We have placed a real focus on ensuring that the building and staff can really support people living with dementia. For example, people with dementia can find it difficult to read everyday signs and may require help to find their way around. We will have signs that include symbols and pictures, which can be easier for people to understand.”

Jon Webb, Senior Development Manager at Assura, said:

“It’s always good to celebrate reaching this key stage of the construction process and great to involve the local community too.

The positive social impact of the new GP premises and related benefits will make a huge difference to health outcomes locally. The practices combined have over 100,000 patient interactions each year, so Assura and its design team have been working hard to ensure the final finishes will create an inclusive, cognitively-supportive design for everyone that uses it.”

Meryl Cook and Melanie Getgood from Forest Healthcare PPG said:

The space promises to be absolutely fantastic; it will be dementia-friendly and well signposted, which will be lovely for both young and elderly patients.”

Mark Hudgeon, Regional Director, Speller Metcalfe said:

“Speller Metcalfe is delighted to be delivering a modern health centre for the residents of Cinderford, and this event has been a fantastic opportunity to enable different groups from within the local community to see how their new medical centre is developing, as well as joining the project team to celebrate a key milestone for the project.”

Director of Primary Care at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Helen Goodey said:

“This is a really exciting milestone for patients and healthcare staff in the local area.

We are working hard across the county to ensure that GP services are provided in modern facilities that support the provision of high quality care, and are really pleased to see this fantastic new development progressing.”