This 3,500 sqm development was completed in May 2007. There are 3 GP Practices and 2 NHS Community Clinics within the Highland Sub-Regional Centre of Fort William, serving an suburban and rural population of approximately 20,000 people. There were no sites available in the town for a scheme of this size. On detailed examination of patient demography using postcodes, it was found that the centre of population was not the town centre but an area outside the town. It was agreed that the ideal site for a new facility should be located half a mile outside Fort William where a site was found.
It was established that over 80% of patients currently accessed the existing surgeries and clinics by car. However, to ease access by public transport , Apollo negotiated a new bus shuttle link to the Centre from the town thus overcoming the issue of accessibility. The vision of an integrated facility and the major benefits this will bring is now becoming a reality.
Some key locational issues were also overcome. 36,000 cubic metres of peat had to be removed from the site before work commenced.
Fort William also had no mains gas and Apollo invested in a woodchip fuel boiler which feeds an under floor heating system (a 3-fold running cost saving over oil), which in turn allows greater internal flexibility to the accommodation. This sustainable solution uses by-products from local forest industries, and is backed up by an oil fired system.
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With funding from a number of sources an ambitious art project was undertaken for the Centre and included an extensive range of stained glass, textiles, paintings, mobiles and children's art providing opportunities for local artists to contribute. The effects that the artwork and building ambience is having on the well-being of patients and staff is already being observed and the therapeutic, calming influence being experienced is already shaping a view that the art project was indeed more than a luxury item but an essential part of any NHS building.
A new website has been set up to provide a record of the Public Art Project at the Fort William Health Centre - www.adesignforhealth.co.uk. It is hoped that by looking at this specific project and the experiences of those involved it will provide an information source for similar projects.
Click here to link to more information and images of Public Art.
Dr Chris Robinson of the Glen Mor Medical Practice wrote:
"John Dryburgh and Cammy Halliday were chosen for their apparent energy, enthusiasm, receptiveness and their track record. Our early expectations have been well fulfilled. They head a team which one can work with through the inevitable difficulties which have arisen, with acceptance of some compromises (on both sides) during construction.
They have striven tirelessly to deliver the centre on time and built to a very high standard".
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They have striven tirelessly to deliver the centre on time and built it to a very high standard. They were receptive to our well formed plans at the time of their appointment providing a bright, attractive building with granite gables built from local materials and a very high quality of finish.
Dr Chris Robinson - Glen Mor Medical Practice