New £12m health centre planned for Muirhouse

An artist's impression of the new Pennywell centre. Picture: NHS Lothian

An artist's impression of the new Pennywell centre. Picture: NHS Lothian

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DESIGNS for a new £12 million health centre have been unveiled as part of a masterplan to regenerate Muirhouse.

Revitalised proposals have been lodged for the North West Edinburgh Partnership Centre, with developers hoping building work can start next year.

The centre – which will include GP accommodation, dentistry and child health ­services – is part of an ambitious project that will see 700 new homes built in the area.

It will be located at ­Pennywell Shopping Centre, currently home to a swathe of boarded-up shops. City council health leader Ricky Henderson said the application meant things were “moving in the right direction”.

“It is good to see these plans progressing,” he said. “I’m sure it will be beneficial to the area when it comes.

“The experience we have had at the Wester Hailes Healthy Living Centre is that it’s good to get professionals together under one roof and it leads to people working more ­effectively with patients at the heart of it.”

The first phase of the ­Pennywell development is already under way, with 34 homes due to be completed at West Pilton Crescent in the next few months. Construction of the health hub is expected to begin next year with plans to open it to patients from Pennywell, Pilton and Muirhouse, by the end of 2016.

It is hoped the facility will help to alleviate the well-
documented GP shortfall plaguing the Capital with NHS Lothian admitting the region needs 33 new surgeries to cope with its ageing and growing population.

Dr John Budd, a GP at ­outreach clinic The Access Point in Leith Street, said ­providing health and social care together is the most ­efficient and cost-effective way of meeting the growing needs of the ­population.

As chairman of Lothian Deprivation Interest Group, he said operating a “one-stop shop” also encouraged ­people to access care in areas that are typically hard to reach for patients.

“I think the centre at ­Muirhouse will be a really ­positive development,” he said.

“The idea of bringing ­services together on one site is a progressive one and works well. We do this with health, social care and housing at The Access Point and it is very effective.

“Fostering relationships between service staff from ­different agencies is a good thing as it increases capacity of all of our services”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com