IN FULL: New Dunstable Health Hub expected to begin construction next month

A new medical facility in Dunstable will "provide proactive health care rather than reactive", says an NHS Trust chief executive.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 1:36 pm
Work on the Dunstable Health Hub is expected to begin next month

A new medical facility in Dunstable will "provide proactive health care rather than reactive", says an NHS Trust chief executive.

Work could begin next month on the integrated health and care hub, off Court Drive, and be completed by March 2023.

Among its main functions are GP services, community and mental health provision, and social care for children and adults, according to Central Bedfordshire Council

The development includes apartments for over 55s distributed in three blocks on the site, within easy access of shops and leisure facilities in the town.

A mix of health and care professionals will be brought together in a single location under the plans, which were approved by the local authority in October.

Subject to any final call-in, construction and property services company Willmott Dixon is expected to start work on May 17th.

Chief executive at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust David Carter told a CBC executive meeting: "We see it as a massive opportunity to move health services to provide proactive health care rather than reactive.

"Bringing primary care together means we can provide pathology. phlebotomy, psychology and pharmacy, as well as the other services the hub will offer," he said.

"I would really like to see a strategy where hubs become the norm of the way we provide care in the community.

"There's a balance to be struck between having primary care and those services on your doorstep.

"In Central Beds that's an issue because there's a more diverse and rural geography than in Bedford borough or in Luton.

"We've offered to take the lease on the hub from Central Bedfordshire and act as the facilitator for the health service," he added.

"That helps the cohesion and makes sure the project is delivered is our agenda.

"There are challenges, but I'm immensely optimistic about this and the benefits of this hub would be tremendous."

The housing consists of 78 one-bed and 20 two-bedroom flats, ten of which will be shared ownership.

"This is an exciting project which will change the way care is delivered in our community," said Conservative Dunstable Watling councillor Eugene Ghent, who's the executive member for housing and assets.

"It will free up properties for younger families and ease demand in the Dunstable area by providing much-needed accommodation for our growing number of over 55s," he explained.

"A population of more than 53,000 registered patients will be catered for, and this is expected to grow by 8,000 within the next ten years.

"The hub will contain dedicated space for the use of specific service providers, shared clinical space used by health tenants and bookable space for community groups.

"Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will sub-let to other service providers and stakeholders.

"These include CBC, Cambridge Community Services, East London Foundation NHS Trust, community and mental health service providers, local primary care services, dental services and a cafe."

Conservative Dunstable Central councillor Carole Hegley said: "I'm thrilled to see this.

"Years of hard work has been invested through this council and other health partners for a modern method of healthcare provision."

Council leader and Conservative Arlesey councillor Richard Wenham said:

"This is a collaborative activity and we can only bring forward these hubs which have the full support and engagement of the NHS."

The executive unanimously approved several recommendations including the contract award.