STOURBRIDGE'S new £8.5million super surgery is set to open its doors to patients next week.
The town's Worcester Street Surgery will shut its doors for good after the last patient has been seen this Friday (April 11) and the practice's 20 GPs and 60 staff face the challenge of moving to the new Lion Health centre off Lowndes Road over a single weekend - ready to welcome the first patients on Monday April 14.
Created from the ruins of the historic Foster and Rastrick foundry where the famous Stourbridge Lion steam engine was built - the state-of-the-art health centre will be one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
The 30,000 square foot facility will cater for up to 25,000 patients and will comprise 36 consulting rooms, nursing suite, minor surgery unit, physiotherapy suite and gym, pharmacy and dental practice, lecture theatre, teaching facilities.
The development, which has seen the area around the River Stour spruced up and landscaped, also includes a 132-space car park.
Medics have spent more than a decade planning their move to the new surgery, the design of which they say remains faithful to the original Georgian foundry - the birthplace of the first steam engine to run on tracks in America in 1829.
The grade II listed building, which has been extended with a modern-looking glass fronted section, retains its wrought and cast iron unsupported single span roof - which was the largest in the world when built in 1820 - and old foundry equipment is given a new lease of life as bicycle parking outside.
The site, which is being leased to the GPs by healthcare investors Primary Health Properties, also includes specially commissioned artwork highlighting the heritage of the setting.
Dr Carol Griffiths said: “We are all very excited about the prospect of finally being able to move in.
“As well as being a much more pleasant environment for our patients, it’s going to be fabulous to all be on one site. As a teaching practice, we also host a number of GPs in training and medical students and we now have some dedicated space for education, as well as meeting rooms.
“We are doing everything we can to keep our patients informed about the move. We are giving out flyers in the practice, we have a pre-recorded message on our phone line and we are also providing information through our website at www. worcesterstreetsurgery.co.uk “We are trying very hard to move in a way which minimises disruption for our patients. If anyone has any concerns about the move, then they should contact the practice.”
The GPs have been working with Amphion Construction and Abacus Architects on the development which has taken 18 months to complete.
CCG Chief Officer Paul Maubach said: “The opening of new facilities like this will make a real difference for the better for thousands of patients.”