Members of the public are having input into the new Station Plaza Primary Care Centre through the Patient and Public Involvement group set up by Hastings and Rother PCT.
17 people have joined the group after it was publicised locally and include patients at GP practices intending to move into the new centre and representatives of senior citizens, people with a disability and people affected by mental health problems. The group has also benefited from the expertise of one volunteer already working in a similar centre in London.
The group has now met three times and has made a number of comments about the design for the Primary Care Centre, which have been passed to architects Nightingales to ensure that the plans fully reflect the views of future service users.
The design of the reception and waiting areas has had input from the group who felt that, as well as functioning well as a clinical facility, should be as welcoming and pleasant as possible.
The group was also concerned that finding your way in such a complex building should be easy, and so has made suggestions that will help visually impaired and other disabled users.
Anna Barnes, PCT Business Change Manager, has also made contact with other groups including the Hastings & Rother Disability Forum, the NSPCC and Castle Ward Forum to ensure that people who cannot attend the new group also have a chance to contribute their views.
Anna said: “There’s no point reinventing the wheel as there is a lot of expertise out there which we should tap into wherever possible. For example, people who have long term conditions, which mean they are frequent visitors to health centres and hospitals, have a unique perspective which as planners we might miss if we don’t ask them.”
In May, some of the group visited the site under the direction of Paul Bishop, Laing O Rourke Project Manager, so they could see where the new health centre will be in relation to the Sussex College Campus.
Paul said: “I was impressed by how the PPI group really wanted to understand the proposed building, particularly how it fitted in with the adjacent college and station – there were a lot of very good questions asked.”
The PPI group will continue to meet monthly to work on further issues around the design of the health centre. They are also hoping to work with an arts consultant on the overall design of the building over the summer months.