A north-east health hub will offer an “example” to other parts of the country, the First Minister has claimed on a visit to the north-east.
Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the Inverurie Health and Care Hub yesterday, telling NHS Grampian staff gathered for the occasion that the facility was “ground-breaking”.
She added: “In all parts of the country the real focus is on making sure health and social care services are properly and effectively integrated and that means staff working together in more joined up ways than the past.
“There’s no doubt it makes a huge difference if there are fit-for-purpose, state-of-the-art facilities where different services and treatments are provided under one roof.
“So both in terms of the scale of this hub and also the different services that are provided here, it definitely offers an example and a model for other parts of the country. It is exactly in line with our vision of improving primary care by allowing GPs to focus their skills where they add most value and allowing patients to be seen at the right time by the right person.”
The new, £14.7 million facility, which includes a dental surgery and community maternity unit, will accommodate an estimated 30,000 patients in its 38 consulting rooms within five years, doubling that of the previous GP practice.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Ms Sturgeon met Jonny and Yolanda Smith from Newmachar and their eight-month-old baby boy, Cruz – the first baby born at the facility’s new maternity unit.
Yolanda, 30, said it was “nervewracking” to meet the leader of the country with her son.
She said: “It’s really nice to be asked back. It was a bit nervewracking when you have no idea how he’s going to react but it went well.”
The mum-of-two, who also has a daughter, Aaliyah, said her experience of the new unit had been “amazing”, adding she recommends it to anyone who has the chance to use it.
She said: “It was such a nice experience and so relaxed.
“Everything was straight- forward as well.”
The First Minister also met little Lucy Sophia McDonald, who was born on Sunday night.
Parents Miriam Gordon, 28, and Ross McDonald, 34, who live in Stoneywood, said they were told by the midwife yesterday morning that they might have a special visitor.
Miriam also said she had an “amazing” experience at the new unit.
She said: “I had a completely natural birth and didn’t have gas and air or anything. Everything was perfect.”
Meanwhile, the First Minister also viewed construction progress at the £55m Inverurie Community Campus, due to open in April 2020.
After touring the facilities, Ms Sturgeon said: “The new Inverurie Community Campus will be a massive boost for the town, giving young people state-of-the art, world-class facilities in which to learn.”
Once complete, the campus will be home to Inverurie Academy and St Andrew’s School, extensive community sports and leisure facilities such as a six-lane swimming pool, multi-use games area and two all-weather pitches.