The drop-in clinic in Broad St Mall will offer quick appointments for 3 GPs and the 10 nurses based at the 10,000sq ft former store.
NHS Berkshire West Director of Commissioning, Cathy Winfield explained that one "key aim is to save people a trip to the A&E department by providing rapid access to treatment" while widening access to healthcare for people who otherwise struggle to find time due to other commitments.
The Public-Private Partnership is a joint-venture project involving the local NHS Primary Care Trust and a group of local doctors practices to pay for the investment setting up and running the centre. Reading Chronicle quotes local LibDem health spokesperson Daisy Benson who welcomed the move, as the partnership deal will ensure "it does not threaten the many well-established GP practices in the town."
Assura Reading Chairman, Dr Gerard D'Cruz said that the organisation would bring together the "expertise of a national specialist... with the best of local knowledge and experience," adding that
"this centre [will act] as a powerful force for primary care excellence across Reading. Patients will have choice as to where they go to access services and we intend to make sure this centre provides a real, popular alternative for all those wishing to use it."An application for change of use of the facility from A1 retail to D1 healthcare is expected to proceed without hitch before it opens in mid-2009.
Broad St Mall directors are ecstatic about the development as it is projected to revitalise the ailing shopping centre.
Meanwhile independent Cllr Tony Jones comments that Berkshire West NHS PCT provides an example that Reading Borough Council could and should follow.
Cllr Benson added to her comment with an in-depth examination of how access to health high quality healthcare and advice is "one of the key factors influencing people's health" and joins Cllr Jones in expressing concern about the delay to the Oxford Road Health and Well-being Centre.
Good customer service is about going out and meeting the public on our terms when and where we need the service.