Building work on a brand new £5 million health centre in Cinderford officially got underway yesterday with a turf cutting ceremony which marked the start of the construction.

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

The turf was cut on the site at a small gathering with representatives from the two practices, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, specialist development company Assura and construction company Speller Metcalfe.

The new building will take around 12 months to complete, and will be built to modern, environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art specifications which include 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:

“We are delighted and really excited that work on our contemporary, new health centre is getting underway.

Our current premises no longer meet modern healthcare standards, and with a growing population, we desperately 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.”

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

“This development will be great for the local area, and will mean that patients can benefit from modern facilities that support the provision of high quality care. We are really pleased to see the start of work on site.

The new premises will be an attractive environment for GPs and other members of the practice team to work in, and for patients to visit.

The CCG is also working on a number of other surgery developments and improvements across the county.”

Jon Webb, Senior Development Manager at Assura, said:

“We’re so pleased to be starting the construction stage and thankful for the support from everyone involved to get here – it’s exciting to be working as a team on a much-needed project.

The unique dementia-friendly and environmentally-friendly aspects of the design will make this a national exemplar scheme for primary care premises.”

Rob Lashford, Regional Director for Speller Metcalfe said:

“We are very much looking forward to construction starting and watching the centre develop over the coming months. Once completed, the new medical centre will provide the people of Cinderford with modern, fit-for-purpose medical facilities for many years to come.”

Andrea Harman, Member of the Forest of Dean District Dementia Action Alliance, said:

“It is important that the new medical centre is accessible to everyone in the community and as part of this is designed to include the needs of people with dementia. By being involved in discussions with the design team we are aiming to have a new medical centre built to dementia design principles and by doing so will create a space that promotes inclusive design for everyone.”

This development is part of wider plans to improve GP premises in the district and is not related, or dependent, on a future decision on the location of a new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.