Work is officially under way on Inverurie’s new health and social care hub.
A special ceremony took place last Thursday in what was described as a “landmark” moment for health care in the area.
The first turf on the £14.6 million facility was cut by patient representatives Margaret Harrow and Bert Hosie, alongside NHS Grampian chairman Professor Stephen Logan.
NHS Grampian said the surgery will feature 38 consulting rooms, almost double that of the current GP practice, and initially serve more than 21,000 patients - making it the largest single health centre of its kind in the country.
Inverurie, already labelled one of Scotland’s fastest growing towns, is predicted to continue developing and the new facility is designed to accommodate an estimated 30,000 patients by 2023.
Professor Logan said: “This marks a new era for health care in our area and it’s a moment that many people have worked tirelessly to make happen.
“We are grateful to all of them and to local people for the patience and support on what has been a complex project.
“Crucially the new building will allow us to introduce a variety of additional or enhanced services in Inverurie that previously patients would have had to travel to Aberdeen or elsewhere to receive.”
New dental services at the facility will help complement independent General Dental Practices in the Inverurie area by offering specialist treatments that were previously only available further afield.
Project director for NHS Grampian Stan Mathieson said: “The growth of Inverurie over the last ten years or so has been almost unrivalled anywhere in the country which presents us with the challenge of ensuring that health care provision keeps pace with that.
“The new health and social care hub should allow us to do that for many years to come.
“From the outset this project has been about than simply providing a new building. It’s been designed in close conjunction with local people to ensure that the healthcare needs of patients - whether now or in the future - are at its very core.”
Chief Officer for Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Adam Coldwells, said: “We have close links across the health and social care spectrum in Aberdeenshire so I’m really pleased with the opportunities the new facility will offer to further build on and strengthen those ties.
“In this era of tight budgets, a project of this scale isn’t easy to deliver either financially or logistically. This level of investment is a further demonstration of our continued commitment to building for the future of health and social care in our area.”