New community clinic finally set to be approved

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A MULTI-million pound community clinic to take the strain off Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital is set to be given the green light.

Havant Borough Council is recommending plans to build Oak Park Community Clinic, near Havant town centre, be approved.

If councillors agree with officers’ recommendations, it could mean construction work finally begins in June after a 20-year wait for residents.

The clinic would include outpatient rooms, treatments like physiotherapy, and diagnostics including X-ray and ultrasound.

It will mean many patients going there instead of all the way to QA in Cosham.

A mobile MRI unit is also planned.

The clinic would emerge from the complete redevelopment of Oak Park Children’s Centre, a £4m facility in Lavant Drive that opened in 2006, which will have a new extension and frontage built.

David Webb, who sits on Havant and Bedhampton Community Board, a forum for residents, said: ‘We think it will be an asset. The quicker it is up and running for the people of Havant, the better.’

NHS Hampshire plans to move administration staff currently working at the site to other offices and turn those offices into treatment and consulting rooms.

The children’s centre, which will remain open throughout the building work, will eventually move into the extension.

Initial plans for Oak Park Hospital fell through due to funding cuts.

NHS Hampshire planned to build the large hospital near to the children’s centre, but then admitted it was too expensive with annual running costs of £3.7m.

The clinic will cost £749,000 a year to run.

Inger Hebden, director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘I am very excited.

‘I just think it will be nice to be able to move this project on.

‘The people in Havant are very enthusiastic about it.

‘It will improve access to services for them.’

She said the children’s centre would be unrecognisable on the inside by September 2012, the planned opening date of the new facilities.

‘The whole building is going to be reconfigured inside,’ she said.

If the plan gets the nod next week, there is still a final stage of approval from top bosses at NHS Hampshire. But Mrs Hebden said she was confident.

‘We have identified funding sources because we had to do that at stage one,’ she added.

A decision will take place at Havant College from 5pm next Thursday .