The wraps have been taken off Scalloway’s new health centre in what was once the primary school, providing premises for the NHS more than three times the size of the existing surgery.
Classrooms have been transformed into consulting rooms in the spacious development, giving the health service a fit for purpose building for a rapidly expanding patient list.
The first of those patients are expected to start coming in for their appointments from 24th August.
Prior to that the final day of business in the existing practice is Friday 14th August.
Health officials say both patients and staff will notice a marked difference when they move into the new premises.
Seven consulting rooms are available for use by 11 clinicians, together with an airy reception area, plenty of storage space, general office space and generous staff facilities.
The move was made possible by a deal between NHS Shetland and the council, which has already allowed pupils to move into what was the junior high department, paving the way for the vacated primary to be transformed into a doctor’s surgery. The process has worked well for the surgery, providing rooms larger than would have been possible under a new build agreement.
Practice manager Elizabeth Williamson said the long-running process had worked well.
“It’s considerably bigger, with floor space three and a half times what we have got at the moment. The size of the consulting rooms are all very big. The ones we’ve got at the moment – we’ve got two particularly small rooms, and even the larger one … is not quite up to the spec required by the legislation.
“We’ve got a lot of storage space [in the new building]; admin space for the GPs so that they are not tying up the clinical rooms when they are doing paperwork; we’ve got the facilities we need that we haven’t had – the building we have at the moment is no longer fit for purpose.”
Local SIC member Mark Burgess said the development represented a good development for the village.
“It’s a wonderful new thing for Scalloway – a fit for purpose and spacious health centre. It’s in a different league completely from the one we’ve been accustomed to for many years. It’s a great advance for health care in the village.”
• For full story, see this week’s Shetland Times.