NHS Shetland is set to move its board headquarters from Brevik House to Montfield, staff learned this week.
The proposal was approved by the board of NHS Shetland at a meeting on Tuesday. It is hoped that building alterations will be done by March or April, with staff moving in soon afterwards.
Chairman of the board Ian Kinniburgh said that moving to Montfield would bring various benefits, not least that the move is expected to save the health board around £70,000 per year.
The NHS building at Brevik will revert to the Scottish government and be disposed of, with the proceeds likely to come back to Shetland. “It’s a case of negotiating a good deal with the government,” Mr Kinniburgh said.
Nearly all the health board staff based at Brevik, including the chief executive Ralph Roberts, the management team, human resources, finance, occupational health and admin support for the health board will relocate to Montfield. Health promotion, however, will move to Grantfield.
The relocation to Montfield will mean senior health board staff will work in the same building as senior council social care staff led by director Sally Shaw – important because of joint projects. Eventually around 30 to 40 staff will work together. They will be housed on the top floor, once in use as an interim placement unit for elderly patients but which is no longer used.
Other health services, including staff development and dental services, are already at Montfield, while the ground floor is used as a council-managed temporary care centre with the emphasis on helping people to regain skills.
Very little structural work on Montfield’s top floor has to be done to make it suitable for offices, which are likely to be open plan. Some en-suite bathrooms will have to be removed, however.
Mr Kinniburgh said: “Whilst there are some marginal benefits in the quality of the building, there are some compromises, such as [having to work in] open plan offices. We’ll be doing things differently in a more cost-effective way.
“The most important thing is to save the board money on a recurring annual basis, and we need to take the opportunity to trim costs. There is a strong financial reason for doing this, also there is the advantage of co-locating with the council social care management. We are trying to develop an integrated approach to social care, this will help with joined-up working, it’s really positive.
“Because the ground floor is already occupied, we cannot dispose of it [the building], but by utilising it, it allows us to dispose of Brevik House.”
He said that because there will be very little need for major construction at Montfield, the council’s service in the care centre downstairs would have the minimum of disruption.
Mr Kinniburgh said: “The move helps us tackle the problem of empty buildings, and puts us on the same site as some of our existing services.”
Montfield’s interim placement unit formally closed in 2011 after being empty for more than a year. The 17-bed care home on the ground floor opened in 2010.