Minister visits Thetford Healthy Living Centre following £2.8m NHS refurbishment

26th February 2024

Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, visited the Thetford Healthy Living Centre on Friday 23 February to tour the facility which has benefited from a £2.8m NHS capital investment to refurbish the building to create more space for integrated health and care services for the community.

Lord Markham was accompanied on the tour by guests from the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB); the Grove Surgery and School Lane Surgery which deliver primary medical services at the Centre; Community Health Partnerships which manage the Centre’s building operations; and Norlife, a local LIFT company that brings together public and private sector investment to healthcare developments. The Breckland Alliance Primary Care Network (PCN) which coordinates local health services for the Thetford community, and representatives from Breckland District Council were also in attendance.

The Thetford Healthy Living Centre on Croxton Road currently hosts a range of primary care, diagnostic, mental health, and outpatient services which are delivered on the ground floor of the building.

The refurbishment is being done to create additional capacity to meet patient demand for general practice services and wider health services in Thetford now, and to meet the growing demand from planned developments in the area.

When completed, the Centre will be a modern, fully accessible, and digitally enabled facility. The refurbishments will create more usable clinical space which will enable patients to access a range of health and care services in a central location and will help to reduce waiting times for appointments.

The refurbishment works on the first floor see the former office and administrative areas getting a new lease of life as they are transformed into 14 fully compliant clinical rooms which will be suitable to deliver a wide range of clinical services, providing flexibility in how the space can be used.

There will also be space for general practice services on the ground floor, and the overall increase in space will create capacity for existing and future patient registrations as the area grows.

Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “We’re committed to ensuring that patients across the country have access to top-quality healthcare, and as part of our long term plan for our health service this £2.8m investment of NHS capital will foster integration of services and provide a modern and accessible healthcare facility that is fit for the future.

“It’s fantastic to see the innovation happening in Thetford and how this clinical space has been designed to provide flexibility for health and care service provision for local patients, creating additional capacity to meet patient demand in the area.”

In addition to the works on the first floor, the refurbishment also includes expansion of the carpark as well as installation of Electric Vehicle charging points. A second lift is being added to improve patient accessibility to the first floor as well, which will improve patient flow-through the building and improve patient experience.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, said: “The refurbishment of the Thetford Healthy Living Centre is a strategic investment into the infrastructure that Norfolk and Waveney needs to be able to deliver better integrated health and social care within our communities.

The Centre is already ideally located to support residents to access health and care services closer to home. With the newly created clinical spaces and accessibility improvements such as the addition of a second lift and expanded car park, it will provide capacity for services to grow to meet the demands for health and care services now and in future.”

Breckland Alliance PCN manager, Carly Bassett, said: “On behalf of the PCN, I am so proud to see the benefits of this investment taking shape in this exciting new space. It’s been a long journey from the initial planning phase and we’re very much looking forward to working closely with the health and care organisations across our PCN to be able to use this space to deliver the services our patients need.

“We will have the capability to book space for care services flexibly which will mean we can flex service provision to meet patient needs for integrated prevention, health and care services.”

The refurbishment is part of a wider £25.2m NHS capital investment into health and care facilities in Norfolk and Waveney, which also includes the King’s Lynn Health Hub, a new build Health Hub in Rackheath, as well as renovation of an existing healthcare building in Sprowston.

The final fixtures and finishings are currently being fitted into the Healthy Living Centre, and the newly refurbished space is expected to be fully completed later this Spring.