WELCOMED with a bunch of flowers, Sharon Burrows was stunned to realise she was the first patient at a new multi-million pound health site.
The 46-year-old was presented with the bouquet at St Mary’s Health Campus in Milton, Portsmouth as she checked into her appointment – the first one since its £18.6m redevelopment.
The former St Mary’s Hospital site has been transformed to provide state-of-the-art maternity and paediatric units, a community mental health team, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as previously reported in The News.
And yesterday the centre opened its doors to patients for the first time.
Ms Burrows, 46, of Copythorn Road, Copnor, said she had no idea she was the first patient before she checked in.
‘I was really surprised and proud when they told me,’ she said.
‘It’s just so funny to think that there will be thousands of people walking through the front doors for many years to come, and that I will always have been the first one.’
Ms Burrows has been receiving treatment for osteoarthritis in her neck and spine for four months at the physiotherapy unit’s former building on the site.
She added: ‘The old building was a bit depressing and it was freezing.
‘This one is so much nicer. It’s much more fresh and everything seems brighter.
‘It’s going to be a much more pleasurable experience coming here.’
The physiotherapy unit will now be able to offer services its former Victorian building was not able to facilitate, including injections to improve joint flexibility.
Janis Cummins, physiotherapy manager, said: ‘We worked very closely with the developers to tell them the sort of facilities we needed and the results are incredible.
‘We’d out-grown our old building and it was dark and gloomy. This one is lovely. It has given our staff a real morale boost moving in here.
‘And hopefully it will do the same for our patients and improve their recovery rates.’
A new out-patients department is also located on the campus, which opened last week.
Tom Morton, chair of the project board for NHS Portsmouth, said: ‘We wanted to deliver services to local people in their own community – that was the key aim of the project.
‘And after two-and-a-half years in the making, it’s great to be able to open the centre to the public. It’s a nice change for the staff and hopefully it will be much easier for patients to use.’