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Earl of Wessex opens new Wirral health centre
THE Earl of Wessex has officially opened the new St Catherine’s Health Centre in Birkenhead this afternoon.
During the visit, Prince Edward met staff and patients in Health Visiting, Wirral Heart Support and Physiotherapy services that operate from the centre and meet representatives from the local community.
The site of the Victorian St Catherine's Hospital has been transformed into a modern healthcare facility.
It features two GP practices, a late night pharmacy and range of community based NHS services including Sexual Health Wirral, Wirral Drugs Service and a range of outpatient clinics.
The site, originally the location of the Birkenhead Union Workhouse, has provided healthcare to the local community for more than 100 years.
Frances Street, chairman of Wirral Community NHS Trust, said: "It was an absolute pleasure to show His Royal Highness around St Catherine's Health Centre today.
"He spent time talking to people throughout the visit – from the rapturous welcome local school children gave him to the time spent with patients and staff in Heart Support and Physiotherapy.
"He certainly looked like he enjoyed his visit to our fabulous new building and to Birkenhead."
Under the guidance of the Birkenhead Historical Society, many features of the former buildings have been retained, including the old hospital stone archway and the old Port House Lodge, which has been refurbished and extended for use as a community building.
The development curves around the neighbouring Grade II listed Victorian St Catherine’s Church, which sits in a newly created public space.
The new building, with its DNA profile inspired cladding, comprises five individually coloured wings linked together by an internal street, creatively displaying the history of the site and the NHS.
Outside courtyards, created between the wings of the building, provide outside gyms used by the rehabilitation teams based on site and a bright children’s courtyard.
Leighton Chumbley, group managing director for development team Prime plc, said: "The completion of St Catherine's Health Centre has generated real excitement in the area and we are extremely happy to have played our part in bringing this state-of-the-art facility to fruition.
"It has undoubtedly transformed not just healthcare but the whole patient experience in Birkenhead and the surrounding area."
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