The Practice was invited by Oxleas NHS Trust and Bexley & Greenwich Health Authority to carry out a site option appraisal for new healthcare premises which would deliver enhanced service provision in the most deprived area of Bexley, Kent.
The new primary healthcare premises, on the site of the existing health centre, has been designed to deliver an integrated provision across the locality along with social and voluntary services, as well as a landmark building that reinforces pedestrian links between the town centre and riverfront.
The main waiting room has a landscaped courtyard aspect. The interior layout has been designed to allow for flexible working patterns and relationships between user groups with adaptable room allocation and use. A ‘plug in’ philosophy for IT and services allows flexibility to meet future delivery of healthcare. To avoid an institutional feel, circulation spaces are enhanced with natural light and thought has been given to signage, artificial lighting and materials. Contemporary colour schemes reinforce the material specification with careful consideration to satisfy design criteria for the partially sighted.
The building was constructed in two phases over two years, allowing the services from the existing health centre to be decanted into the first phase 3-storey block. Following completion of the phase one building, the existing health centre was demolished, making way for the second phase of construction.
The project now provides 1950m² of accommodation for eight user groups, which include three GP practices, four NHS Trusts and the Citizen Advice Bureau.
The £3.2 million scheme, which benefits from City Challenge funding, also includes new public conveniences for Bexley Council.
ERITH | KENT