Celebrations all round as £3.7m clinic opens

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EXACTLY a year ago yesterday Olivia Breen was soaking up the fervent home support as she stood on the Paralympic podium with her bronze medal.

A year on, and now a rising star in the sporting world, the sprinter was invited to officially open Havant’s new £3.7m Oak Park Community Clinic.

132443-810_OAK_PARK_OPENING London Paralympic bronze medalist Olivia Breen opens the Oak Park Community Clinic in Havant.  Picture: Steve Reid

132443-810_OAK_PARK_OPENING London Paralympic bronze medalist Olivia Breen opens the Oak Park Community Clinic in Havant. Picture: Steve Reid

The 17-year-old, who trains at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth, was all smiles as she unveiled a plaque.

After years of setbacks, the state-of-the-art facility opened at the end of last year, offering podiatry, physiotherapy, outpatient consultations, X-ray and ultrasound, a rapid assessment unit for older people and a diabetic retinopathy clinic.

The centre is designed to take the strain off Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Olivia, who lives in Liphook and will compete at the Commonwealth Games next year, said: ‘It’s been really good. This is my first time opening a clinic. I have done lots of talks in schools and met lots of different people. It’s been a great year.’

She wasn’t the only one with a big smile.

County councillor Liz Fairhurst, who represents Bedhampton and Leigh Park and is in charge of public health in Hampshire, fought for better healthcare facilities in Havant after the plans for a new hospital fell through several years ago due to lack of NHS funds.

She said: ‘It’s been a long time coming from where we were a few years ago when the NHS was going to walk away. What we have got now is better than we ever dreamed of.’

And the project is only half way to completion.

On the other side of Lavant Drive, Hampshire County Council is pressing forward with plans for a 60-bed nursing centre and 50 assisted living units for the elderly.

Cllr Fairhurst added: ‘I think it’s going to be a first in the country to have all these services on one site.’

Havant’s Deputy Mayor, Marjorie Smallcorn, was also at the ceremony. She said: ‘It’s lovely. I came here as a patient first soon after it opened. I was very impressed then.’