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‘A building fit for the future’: A first look inside town’s new health hub which will open this summer

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More than 25 guests braved the weather to have a first look at the site of the new health hub in South Lynn – which is set to open this summer.The centre, being constructed on Nar Ouse Way, is due to house a range of primary care services, as well as a maternity hub and rehabilitation therapy services from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.Guests from the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB), the QEH, and officers and councillors from West Norfolk Council joined representatives from NHS Property Services and health construction specialists Darwin Group for a private tour to see the progress being made at the £11.5million facility.

Cllr Alex Kemp was among the first to see inside the new health hub in South Lynn

The health hub will house more than 20 new clinical rooms, providing a modern, accessible and digitally-enabled facility that will help to transform how health and care services are delivered in the area and increase access to services for people in Lynn and the surrounding area.Work commenced on the site in late autumn last year, and progress over the winter has seen the installation of drainage, preparation and installation of the foundations, and installation of the modular building units.Cllr Alex Kemp, who represents South Lynn on the borough and county councils, was among those to be shown around the facilities this week.

A first look inside the new health hub being constructed in South Lynn. Picture: NHS Norfolk and Waveney

She said: “The foundations are laid, the bricks are going up. This will be a spacious surgery with car parking, room for expansion, served by the new community transport circular bus.“I have no doubt that doctors and health professionals will be queuing up to work in the new surgery.“With so many young families, and also older people with musculoskeletal issues locally, having physio, rehab and maternity in the surgery makes real sense.“People with bone and joint issues will have earlier help and hopefully make an earlier recovery.”

Cllr Alex Kemp at the new site on Nar Ouse Way

Cllr Kemp added: “This is a building fit for the future.”The hub has been produced using MMC – modern methods of construction – where building structures are manufactured offsite and then installed on site more quickly than if they were constructed there. This creates less material waste.Inside, walls have been sprayed with an intelligent membrane to create an airtight building shell. Insulation throughout the building has been upgraded, triple-glazed windows have been installed to improve thermal performance, and air source heat pumps and LED lighting will help to reduce energy consumption.

Cllr Alex Kemp during her tour of the new facilities

The building, which will have an A+ energy performance rating, will also be net zero carbon in operation, meaning it will use less energy than it generates, leading to cheaper utility bills and less CO2 emissions.Cllr Jo Rust, the borough council’s cabinet member for people and communities, said: “Prior to being taken on the tour of the new facility we were given some background information about the company and their aims and objectives, and it was heartening to hear that the modern methods of construction that they use enable their buildings to be sustainable and net zero compliant because of the level of air tightness in the building.“The facility itself is going to make a huge difference to our local community. It’ll mean parents-to-be and the population in general won’t always have to traipse to the QEH to get their maternity services or physiotherapy.“It’ll offer social prescribing and health and well being services, and, while it is not a new GP surgery, it will alleviate some of the burdens that our surgeries face as most of us see our GP as the first port of call.“Not all our ailments need the services of a GP and some of the additional NHS roles held by staff will be able to look after us in a more targeted way.“I got a real sense of excitement from those who were on the tour with me, this is a purpose-built building making the most of new technology. Those people who will use it have had a say in its design.“It won’t be long before we can see it up and running and I look forward to that.”The new hub is part of a wider £25.2million NHS capital investment into health and care facilities in Norfolk and Waveney.Progress on at the South Lynn Health Hub will continue into the spring, with the new facility anticipated to be ready for use this summer.Paul Higham, director of primary care estates at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, said: “We are delighted with the progress we’re seeing on site and it’s exciting to see this much-needed development finally taking shape.“This new health hub will provide a range of health services that will help to meet residents’ needs for healthcare services in Lynn now, and to meet the growing demand from the planned expansion of the town.”Victoria Shaw, property development partner at NHS Property Services, said: “The new healthcare hub will offer people in Lynn and the surrounding areas a sustainable, modern, and fully accessible facility.“Through NHS Property Services’ partnership with customers, we can assist health professionals in delivering the best possible care to patients in a building designed to meet their needs.”Jim Pierce, deputy CEO at Darwin Group, added: “We know how important this facility will be for the wider Lynn community, so to be able to show people the progress that has been made so far has been very satisfying.“It’s been fascinating for our team to hear about the positive impact the health hub will have on maternity and rehabilitation services for the area too.“It’s not often that so many stakeholders get to see the progress of a project in this way. I think it’s given them a good understanding of the benefits of using modular construction methods for this project, especially in terms of the net zero carbon aspect.”

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