'Nationally unique' university health faculty to open in Suffolk

The rapid testing centre at the University of Suffolk can take nearly 700 samples a day and return results in under an hour

A 'nationally unique' health faculty is hoped to open in Suffolk - Credit: The University of Suffolk

A "nationally unique" health faculty is hoped to open at the University of Suffolk as part of a major renovation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The waterfront university has applied for planning permission to renovate its disused East Building in Ipswich, which had previously been used by the university's science and technology department alongside the arts and humanities department.

The space will be used to help the university's planned Integrated Care Academy, which aims to meet the longer term needs of the most vulnerable people in Suffolk.

Students will be working alongside local institutions such as St Elizabeth Hospice and Suffolk Mind, as well as Healthwatch Suffolk and the wider NHS and social care system.

An artist's impression of the sports room inside the East Building

An artist's impression of the sports room inside the East Building - Credit: Blue Cube Studios

Professor Helen Langton, the university's vice-chancellor, said the partnership will help form a "nationally unique alliance".

Prof Langton said: “Communities across Suffolk have supported each other in remarkable ways in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The alliance seeks to harness the spirit of friendship and collaboration to secure the grassroots community support and very best primary healthcare for all of us.

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"With financial support from government funds, we are hoping that together we can be a catalyst for change. We can support vulnerable groups and develop our professional expertise to respond to future health and wellbeing crises with world-class care.”

As part of the application submitted to Ipswich Borough Council, the university – working with KLH Architects – looks to construct a new external glass lift, while converting the nearby boiler house into a new clinic. An application has also been submitted for the removal of the 100ft high concrete chimney. 

The boiler room chimney at the University of Suffolk

An application has also been submitted for the demolition of the boiler room's chimney - Credit: Google Maps

Prof Langton added the East Building will become the academy's central hub, and deliver courses to the country's next generation of health and social care workers – including paramedics, radiographers and nurses.

She said: "We will be able to offer these students excellent facilities in which to learn to be the best and be ready to work in health and social care to support our county and beyond.

"The academy will also offer research and innovation to support new models of integrated care that benefit the health of our population.”

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