The new £14 million Cobridge Community Health Centre and Integrated Sexual Health Unit, which includes the Staffordshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre, have been officially opened by Her Majesty’s representative in the county the Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson CBE.
Commissioned by NHS Stoke on Trent and developed through the Prima 200 LIFT partnership with private sector partner Prime plc, the campus-style development incorporates two buildings – a state-of-the-art community health centre and an integrated sexual health unit to provide a range of specialist services for people across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
Cobridge Community Health Centre opened in October 2011 and brought together two GP surgeries – Dr Pathak, whose surgery was based in Waterloo Road, and the Apsley House Surgery in Waterloo Road. A range of services operate from the centre including: blood testing, X-ray services, adult and paediatric physiotherapy.
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides genitourinary medicine (GUM), contraceptive services, Chlamydia screening and HIV counselling, as well as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre opened in January 2012 and provides a one-stop location where both male and female victims over the age of 16 can receive medical care, emotional support and have the opportunity to assist the police investigation, including having a forensic examination.
A number of VIPs attended the event including the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police Mike Cunningham, Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley, Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Cllr Terry Crowe, Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Cllr Mohammed Pervez and Staffordshire County Councillor Robbie Marshall.
Staffordshire Cluster of PCTs Chief Executive Graham Urwin said: “I am delighted the Lord- Lieutenant opened both the Community Health Centre and the Integrated Sexual Health Unit as it gave us the opportunity to celebrate the hard work that has gone into making these developments a reality. We expect around a hundred thousand people to use the Community Health Centre every year.”
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley said: “In the years ahead Cobridge Community Health Centre will do much to improve health and wellbeing, and it is a major benefit that we don’t just get a new clinic but a derelict site brought back into use and jobs for local people. Already the new clinic is making a difference and I am proud to have supported a great team of NHS professionals and local volunteers including the late Bernard Wragg who made sure that this clinic was built here to give new hope to Cobridge.”
John Taylor, Chairman of Staffordshire Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) Prima 200, said: “Officially opening these two buildings marks an important step in the transformation of services in Cobridge. It demonstrates how effective LIFT can be at bringing together different agencies and services and offers critical opportunities to reorganise services for the benefit of communities.”
Speaking on the Sexual Assault Referral Centre Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: “Rape and sexual assault are devastating crimes and have long-lasting effects on the lives of victims. No matter where they live, it is important that they should receive the help and support they need quickly to overcome the physical and mental impact of this kind of crime. The SARC brings together integrated, specialist interventions and support services which allows co-ordination with wider healthcare, social care and criminal justice processes to improve health and wellbeing, as well as improve criminal justice outcomes for victims of rape and serious sexual assaults.”
Councillor Adrian Knapper, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for health, said: “Centres of this nature provide an extremely important service to people who need immediate support in times of extreme difficulty. In Stoke-on-Trent we are dedicated to supporting people who’ve been the victim of sexual crimes and as outlined in Our Mandate for Change, we want to promote independent living and healthy lives within the city and these centres will be at the forefront of that vision.”
Staffordshire County Councillor Robbie Marshall, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Health said: “The sexual assault referral centre will help a lot of people across Staffordshire who have been the victim of a sexual crime. Having a centre which houses together all of the services needed to support victims means we can ensure those who have suffered a sexual assault will get the services they need quickly. The welfare of any victim of a sexual crime is of the utmost importance, and I’m confident this centre will deliver the emotional and physical support they need.”
As part of the events two plaques kindly donated by Emma Bridgewater Pottery were unveiled to commemorate the openings.