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New centre dedicated to health stalwart is opened in Wednesbury

A new health centre has officially opened in Wednesbury after a joint development project between Sandwell Council and the NHS.

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The Mayor of Sandwell Councillor Bill Gavan, centre, with, left to right, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and WMCA, Councillor Peter Hughes; Dr. Ajay Ramachandran; Dr. Divya Chikkaveeraiah; Sue Astley, Practice Manager at The Spires Health Centre; Sandwell Council Leader, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael; and Richard Nugent’s family at the official opening of the Richard Nugent Centre in Wednesbury.

The Richard Nugent Centre was officially opened on Monday in Kingsbury Close as the new, modern home for the Spires Health Centre.

It was named after Mr Nugent, who was non-executive director of Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group until 2018 and was previously chair of the former Sandwell Primary Care Trust – he worked in the NHS and healthcare profession for 35 years.

Sandwell Council has worked closely with the Spires Health Centre and NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) to deliver the project, which will benefit the local community for decades to come.

The new centre includes a suite of consulting, treatment and meeting rooms as well as 32 on-site car parking spaces and an ambulance drop-off centre. The Spires Health Centre alone has five new consulting rooms and on treatment room.

It is part of one of Sandwell’s key regeneration projects on a one-acre, council-owned brownfield site that has been developed next to Wednesbury Leisure Centre.

The council has fully financed and delivered the health centre on behalf of the NHS, which is then leasing the building from the council.

Infrastructure at the site included five new council homes in King Street, with tenants having moved in earlier this year.

Sandwell Council leader, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “This fantastic new health centre is a wonderful example of the council and NHS working together to deliver better health facilities for residents in Wednesbury and Sandwell.

“One of our key ambitions is for Sandwell to be a place where people live healthy lives and live them for longer.

“It’s also very fitting that the centre is named after the late Richard Nugent, to help celebrate his many years of service and dedication to local healthcare provision in Sandwell and the wider region.”

Attending the opening ceremony were representatives from Sandwell Council, the NHS and other partners, who took a tour of the new facilities and unveiled a tree planted to mark the official opening of the centre.

Richard Nugent's son Mark and daughter, Rhiannon Roche both attended the opening ceremony, saying: “Dad would have been honoured by the naming of this centre.

“The project was important to him and echoes his firm belief that health outcomes are improved by community access to better local facilities.”

Dr Ajay Ramachandran and Dr Divya Chikkaveeraiah, GP Partners at Spires Health Centre, said: “The GPs and staff at the Spires Health Centre are very happy to have relocated to the Richard Nugent Centre.

“The building has been built to a very high standard and we have already received very positive feedback from our patients. Now that GP and community standards are located together, we are able to work in partnership to provide high quality healthcare to the residents of Wednesbury.”

Sarb Basi, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, added: “We’re pleased to be supporting this long-awaited project in Wednesbury.

“The new facilities at the Richard Nugent Centre will enable Spires Health Practice to continue to provide excellent care in fit-for-purpose comfortable environment for their patients.