THE LONG-AWAITED medical centre in Sovereign Harbour has finally opened its doors to patients.
Building work on the centre began in January this year and now the much-needed £1.6 million facility is open.
The new centre stands on a site in Pacific Drive, across from the existing surgery in a converted house in Barrier Reef Way.
The area of land was bought from Carillion by Harbour Medical Practice GPs Dr Idango Adoki and Dr Ibelema Cookey.
The two doctors say they are delighted the Harbour Medical Practice is now open.
Dr Adoki explained it had taken around eight years to get the new centre up and running.
He said, “I would like to thank everyone who has supported us.
“We are now able to provide a wide range of services from here.
“It has been a long journey but we got there in the end.
“The planning process was difficult and there were various obstacles but I am pleased we have overcome them and the centre is now open.”
Four doctors will be available at the new centre and people are invited to take a look round at an open day this Saturday (December 17).
The open day will take place between 10am and 2pm to give residents in the area a chance to see the new facility.
Dr Adoki said, “We hope to see as many people as possible on Saturday. We want people to come and see the facilities we have available at this new premises.”
An official celebratory opening of the centre will take place in the new year.
The Sovereign Harbour Residents Association has been campaigning for a purpose-built medical centre for a number of years.
It was felt the large population at the harbour needed a medical centre of its own. The residents’ association is delighted the new long-awaited practice is now open.
Ian Weeks, vice-chair of the association, said, “We’re delighted that the new medical centre is now open; at last the harbour development has its first, and only, major piece of community infrastructure.
“The SHRA campaigned long and hard for this facility, backed-up by harbour residents, and supported throughout by Cllr David Elkin.
“There were times when we almost gave up, but we persevered and it finally paid off.
“It’s shameful that this medical centre had to be privately funded because the county council didn’t enforce a legal agreement that should have provided it, and other community infrastructure, right at the beginning of the harbour development.
“Dr Adoki deserves great credit for seeing this project through, whilst still caring for 4,000 patients, and fighting threats to the renewal of the temporary planning consent that allowed him to run his practice from a converted family home.”
Until the opening of the new centre last week, Harbour Medical Practice was operating from a four-bedroom detached house for the last six years. The new building is expected to enable the doctors to increase the number of patients from 4,600 to around 8,000.
Back in January when work started, Mark Orriss, development director for Sovereign Harbour, said, “We recognise the medical centre as an important piece of infrastructure for the area and I am delighted that we have been able to help enable this development.”