Gym the tonic at new health centre

FITNESS is being taken to the extreme in Stowmarket where gym is considered the just the tonic.A new £4.5million health centre is being built in the Suffolk town to help cope with the expanding population - and as part of the new building a gym is going to be installed.

By Jessica Nicholls

FITNESS is being taken to the extreme in Stowmarket where gym is considered the just the tonic.

A new £4.5million health centre is being built in the Suffolk town to help cope with the expanding population - and as part of the new building a gym is going to be installed.

Dr Mark Shenton, from the StowHealth practice being built in Violet Hill Road said: "We give prescriptions for people to go to the gym.


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"Around nine out of ten people who go to the gym tend to take it up regularly but there are some people who don't use the prescription.

"This will encourage them to go to the gym more."

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It is also hoped the on site gym will help people who have had heart attacks.

A traditional topping out ceremony was held for the new Violet Hill Road centre in Stowmarket, which is being built to update the practice's old building.

The building project between StowHealth, Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust, Local Health Partnerships Trust, Suffolk County Council and developers Ashley House will usher in a new era of health care facilities for Stowmarket by next spring.

Residents in the town have been worried over health care in the community, and a public meeting was called amid concerns the town was on the brink of a health care crisis as the two existing surgeries, in Violet Hill Road and Combs Ford, simply can not cope as new homes continue to be built in the town putting additional strains on GPs.

People want a completely new practice set up on the large Cedars Park development on the edge of town.

The new building in Violet Hill Road will provide a better service for patients and the local community by improving patients access to a large number of services under one roof, with a variety of NHS, social care and private practitioners offering a range of medical therapies and social care under one roof close to the centre of Stowmarket.

The facilities provided will include a nursing suite, a minor surgery suite, patient information points, a complimentary health suite, a private physical therapy suite, a visiting specialist suite, a psychological health suite and conference facility.

Practice business manager Penny Flack said: "Larger premises will allow both the practice and Central Primary Care Trust to look at the type of services that are provided locally.

"The building will provide flexibility that we did not have in our former premises, for example part of the building has been planned for the doctors practice to use during the day and Suffolk Doctors on Call, the local out of hours GP co-operative, to use through the night."

The building scheme is on schedule for completion in 2003. The main phase will be ready in May with the final phase being completed in September next year.

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