Wednesday, 7 March 2012

White City Care Centre to tackle life expectancy gap

White City collaborative care centre
If you live in the North of our borough you will, on average, die eight years earlier than if you live in the more well-heeled South. A sobering fact and one which is backed up by a recent report by the Department of Health on the state of health of residents in White City and Shepherds Bush which revealed that nearly a quarter of all year 6 school children are obese, stroke deaths are higher than normal and drug misuse is worse than in many other London boroughs.

That's the (very) bad news. The good news is that a new care centre will be opening to tackle some of these issues and to take on an extra 10,000 patients, growing to 25,000 patients if needed, for a range of GP-led services. The building will be sited on the current building site next to Wormholt Park and comes as part of a Council led package to regenerate the area.

Many of these places will of course be taken up by the thousands moving into the area as a result of developments like these

Plans were first submitted way back in 2007, planning permission applied for in 2008 but health chiefs have only just approved them, meaning construction work will start this summer and the £15 million state of the art centre will open its' doors in January 2014. I reported back in 2009 on the dramatic demolition work that cleared the areas for the centre.

Dr Tim Spicer, Chair of Hammersmith & Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: 
“This is exciting news as the new health centre is central to our plans to develop an integrated health and social care service for the residents of White City. We will be developing a full GP service with better larger treatment rooms and there is also space for other services such dentistry, minor surgery and podietry amongst others. 
“It will also give us the space we need to develop an integrated centre for disabled children with radically improved access, co-ordination of services, assessments and treatment, and have a space which parents and their families’ will feel welcoming.”
Cllr Joe Carlebach, cabinet member community care, added: 
"I am delighted that the scheme now has NHS and Government approval and that local people will reap the huge benefits these new health facilities will offer. Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Primary Care Trust have together worked incredibly hard to get these plans approved as we realise how important they are for the people of White City. White City has some of the worst health inequalities in Britain and needs the benefits that a new health centre, affordable homes and other community benefits will bring.”
Other services to be provided by the new centre include community nursing and health visiting, social work services, services for children with disabilities, speech therapy, mental health services, and physiotherapy. 170 flats will also be built together with a mini-supermarket, pharmacy, and a £1m investment in Wormholt Park, a long neglected green area but as we saw last Summer one that has the potential to pull the community together.

This is all really good stuff and the Council, together with their partners in the Department for Health, should be rightly congratulated for the development. The scale of the problems facing our part of the borough are there to be seen - just take a look at this flyer for youth services in the area I picked up in 2009 for example, or get a glimpse into the hard drugs problem the area has here.

It does regularly feel like the Fulhams of this world seem to get much better treatment than the north - but this is a very large example of that not happening and I'm sure we all wish it the best.

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