Work begins on first of three Health and Social Care Centres.

GRAHAM Construction has officially commenced work on the first of three health and social care centres it is completing as part of a £27.6 million programme of investment in NHS infrastructure for Edinburgh and West Lothian.

Maureen Watt, MSP and Minister for Mental Health officially broke the ground in a sod cutting ceremony at the North West Edinburgh Partnership Centre, Muirhouse, which took place on Wednesday, 6 July.

GRAHAM Construction has been appointed as the main contractor for the trio of partnership centres, which are being delivered by Hub South East on behalf of NHS Lothian, the City of Edinburgh Council and West Lothian Council.

The North West Edinburgh facility will provide a new GP practice, physiotherapy, podiatry, dentistry, voluntary sector services and children and families health and social work services – in a move designed to ensure that children’s health and welfare are at the forefront of local services.

Allermuir Health Centre (formerly the Firrhill Partnership Centre) and the North West Edinburgh (Muirhouse) and Blackburn in West Lothian partnership centres, have been designed to make it easier for patients and service users to access services by providing them in a one-stop shop.

Michael Graham, Executive Chairman of GRAHAM Construction said: “These state-of-the-art facilities will be a real attribute to people in the Lothian region and an excellent addition to local health services.

“The North West Edinburgh project will create an accessible centre for the community – the first of three GRAHAM will be completing in partnership with Hub South East.

“The company holds significant experience of delivering modern health-care projects across Scotland and we’re pleased to be reaching this important milestone.”

GRAHAM has committed to creating apprenticeship programs, work experience placements and jobs for the local community through the three projects.

It is the latest in a string of health related contracts for the company, recently completing the replacement of an IPCU at Stratheden Hospital and currently working on 12 phases of developments for NHS Lanarkshire, handing over a 10-bed, state-of-the-art Critical Care Unit at Monklands Hospital to the authority last month.

Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, said: “I am delighted to be here to officially mark the start of construction on the North West Edinburgh Partnership Centre.

“Once open, this will be a thoroughly modern, fit-for-purpose facility that will benefit the whole of the Muirhouse and Pennywell area. The development of this new facility, along with two other centres across Lothian, will help to bring local services together and make it easier for communities to access them.

“This is one of many capital projects under development across NHS Scotland. Investment in local infrastructure continues to be a key priority for this Government, with over £2 billion invested in Scotland’s health infrastructure over the last four years.

“I want to thank everyone involved for getting this project to such an important stage and look forward to seeing work progress over the coming year or so.”

The Minister was joined by a family from Muirhouse, who are likely to access services when the new facility opens later in 2017, to help cut the ground.

Vicky Cordice, her five-year-old son Matthew, and her mother Elizabeth toured the building site and got to see for themselves how the new centre will take shape over the coming months.

Brian Houston, Chairman of NHS Lothian, said: “I’m delighted that work is now progressing on the North West Edinburgh Partnership Centre and on the other two fantastic new centres. They will help to better connect health, social care and council services in the heart of these communities.

“Bringing services together in one place will help to improve access for communities throughout Edinburgh and West Lothian and will in turn improve health and quality of life.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners in the City of Edinburgh Council and West Lothian Council, along with Hub South East Scotland, as we deliver the new buildings.”

George Walker, Chairman of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board, said:  “It’s great to see the first phase of construction work starting on the new centre. We work with NHS Lothian, the Scottish Government and care providers to make sure the right services are in place to support people and this fantastic facility will be of real benefit to local residents by providing a one-stop shop for their health needs.”