Scotland’s newest community hospital, the £12m Nairn Town and County Hospital and Primary Care Centre, was officially opened today by the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Dr Kevin Woods, amid great excitement from patients, staff and the local community who worked hard to secure a new facility for the town.
The state-of-the-art project developed by Prime plc, brings together 250 staff in the 540 sqm building designed to meet the needs of over 14,000 patients from Nairn, Ardersier and surrounding rural communities. The facility is one of the most integrated in the country combining a wide range of NHS services together with social work, local medical practices, a dental practice with expanded provision and community hospital services.
Dr Woods said: “This integrated hospital and primary care centre embraces a way of working which will improve the quality of care for the whole population. Professionals are working side by side making the delivery of a seamless service easier. This much makes sense, but I expect that the real benefits will be discovered by the staff here as they get together and start to explore new ways of meeting the health and social carechallenges that are facing us.”
The hospital includes 20 in-patient beds, accident and emergency, physiotherapy services with two physiotherapy gyms, new x-ray machines, outpatient consultant clinics, GP consultant clinics, a new child health clinic and consulting room. The day hospital services will include an occupational therapy kitchen and bedroom to help rehabilitate patients back into the community.
The Primary Care Centre includes 22 consulting rooms, a minor surgery room, conference room and office space for two GP Practices; the Lodgehill Clinic and the Ardersier branch surgery. It also includes offices and meeting space for a range of community staff including district nurses, midwives, community psychiatric nurses, public health nurses, school nurses, health visitors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, pharmacist and dietician.
NHS Highland Chair Garry Coutts said: “The future has to be about working across the artificial boundaries between primary care and hospital care, the NHS and social work. It is care that takes into account all the medical conditions and social circumstances of every person and looks after them holistically. It is a system which is preventative rather than reactive. Co-location of services makes it easier for staff working across all these services to get to know each other and their roles so they can look after people better. This development is a shining example of the way forward and as one of the first to be integrated at this level the pressure is on for the people who work here to deliver to their full potential.”
The centre also provides a base for 35 social work staff. The Highland Council Housing Social Work Committee Chair Councillor Margaret Davidson said: “We are delighted with the new facility in Nairn. The Council has moved staff from the Corsee Home, to the new Primary Care Centre, including those involved in community care, children and families, occupational therapy, home care, fostering and adoption and youth action. The development provides a wide range of important health-related services in modern surroundings under one roof in a central location. The inter-agency project highlights the benefits of sharing premises to provide integrated services for the public. ”
Delivered in partnership between NHS Highland, Lodgehill and Ardersier GP Clinics, specialist healthcare developer Prime, the Highland Council and Morrison Construction, the official opening marks the end of a two and a half year, split phase building programme, which enabled the hospital to remain operational throughout.
The complex development involved the demolition of old and temporary buildings at the back of the site to make way for a new state of the art annex. This was then integrated with the fully refurbished listed building at the front of the site, which reflects the hospital’s history and dates back to1906. The whole development has then been landscaped to unify the site and a fully coordinated interior guides staff and visitors easily through the structure from a central atrium located in the new annex.
Leighton Chumbley, managing director of Prime explains the importance of the project: “This is a project that I have been involved with for over 5 years and has been one that the community has worked towards collectively for over 20 years. At times it has proven challenging to coordinate so many different organisations, but nothing this worthwhile is ever easily achieved. And it is now fantastic to see the whole development fully operational and open to the public, with so many different teams working side by side under one roof. It is a project that will mean a great deal to the people of Nairn, will work as an exemplar project across Scotland for other community hospital developments, and should create a legacy of care that benefits the community for generations to come.”
Commenting on the official opening, Donald McLachlan, operations director for Morrison Construction added: “There is a tremendous sense of pride within the company at handing over the new Nairn Town and County Hospital and Primary Care Centre, an excellent demonstration of our capability in constructing healthcare developments. The end result is one that is both high quality and sympathetic to the surrounding environment.
“I see it becoming very much a flagship community hospital of which NHS Highland can be proud, and which will facilitate modernisation and expansion of the provision of healthcare services for the local area.”