Work is under way on a brand-new health and care centre in the heart of Ilford after the plans received overwhelming support from people living and working in the area.
Nearly 1,000 people took part in a public consultation on the centre – earmarked for two floors in Ilford Exchange shopping complex – with the vast majority backing the scheme.
Construction work has now started on site, after planning approval was granted by the London Borough of Redbridge, with the centre expected to open in spring 2024.
The centre has been designed to act as a ‘one stop shop’ providing easy access to a range of health, social care and community services in a single central location.
During the six-week public consultation, which ended in early November, people submitted a range of views and comments about the proposals and the type of services they would like to see provided at the site. Of those surveyed:
- 90% of people supported plans to expand existing GP services at the centre
- 93% of people supported plans to offer community blood testing services
- 88% of people supported proposals for health and adult social care services
- 77% of people supported plans for universal children’s (0-19) services at the centre
- 84% of people supported proposals for a community podiatry service at the centre
- 88% of people supported proposals for a mental health talking therapies service
- 91% of people supported plans for long-term conditions services which could include support for those living with heart failure, diabetes and respiratory conditions.
Local people also provided valuable feedback on additional services and community groups they might like to have available at the centre, as well as views on accessibility.
The feedback received has been carefully considered by NHS North East London, NELFT NHS Foundation Trust, and the London Borough of Redbridge, in close collaboration with other organisations which all work together as part of the Redbridge Place-Based Partnership to deliver the plans.
The full consultation response can be found on the NHS North East London website.
Dr Anil Mehta, a local GP and Clinical Director for the Redbridge Place-Based Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that so many local people responded to our public consultation and that the feedback we received was overwhelmingly in support of our proposals to provide a new health centre at Ilford Exchange.
“Developing this modern centre in a central location with excellent transport links will enable us to better meet rising local demand for GP services and improve access to health and care support for our growing and vibrant multi-cultural population.
“All of the feedback we received was incredibly valuable and we will take this into careful consideration so we can make sure this centre delivers for local people now and for generations to come.”
Bob Edwards, Integrated Care Director for Redbridge at NELFT NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s good to see such positive feedback from the public consultation. It’s also great to see almost 1,000 responses as part of the consultation process, which suggests that local community are actively engaged and involved in how we are planning and delivering health and social care services within Redbridge.”
Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, said: “The new health centre will bring key services right into the heart of our town centre, making it easier than ever for local people to access the care they require.
“It’s great to see overwhelming support for the new plans from local people and I’m looking forward to working with health partners to deliver critical services on our doorstep in Ilford.”
A summary of the feedback from the public consultation and the consultation response are now available on the NHS North East London website.