On Thursday 6th July the Tessa Jowell Health Centre in Dulwich, south London finally received the opening it deserves, with Dame Tessa’s daughter Jess Mills joining local MP Helen Hayes to officially open the building.
First opening to patients at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2020, this state-of-the-art community health facility went straight into action delivering vaccinations to the local community. As a result of pandemic restrictions, the new building never received an official opening, so a special event was planned for this week to coincide with wider celebrations of the 75th birthday of the NHS.
Key stakeholders involved in the delivery and management of the Tessa Jowell Health Centre were joined by Dame Tessa’s daughter Jess Mills; Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood Helen Hayes; and a range of guests, including Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting MP, from across the local community and health industry.
Delivered under the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (NHS LIFT) Programme, the Tessa Jowell Health Centre is a shining example of public private partnership. Led by Community Health Partnerships; investment partner Fulcrum; LIFTCo partner South London Health Partnership and NHS South East London, the £22.5m project was designed to integrate a range of health and wellbeing services all under one roof to help meet the needs of the growing local population.
It has brought a key health facility into the heart of the Dulwich community offering a GP surgery, pharmacy, renal dialysis unit; consultant outpatient clinics; blood tests; cardiology and respiratory diagnostics; and mental health services. A testament to the joined up and collaborative nature of community care, the health centre’s key service providers include Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Some facts and figures on key services in the building include:
– The Tessa Jowell GP Surgery has over 14,000 registered patients and up to 6,300 appointments every month;
– The Renal dialysis unit offers morning, afternoon and evening services every day, seeing around 450 dialysis patients each week, including support for some patients to have dialysis overnight;
– Outpatient clinics covering a wide range of services including: Echocardiogram, Heart failure, Cardiac Rehabilitation, POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), Vascular, Respiratory (Oxygen clinic), Respiratory (Severe Covid), Critical Care Psychology, Gastroenterology, Renal (Peritoneal dialysis), General Neurology, General Medicine, Brain Injuries
Speaking at the official opening, Dame Tessa’s daughter Jess Mills said:
“Mum was endlessly passionate about helping her constituents and doing everything she could to ensure accessible healthcare for all, so it’s the perfect tribute to see this health centre making such a huge contribution to local people. It has been such a challenging few years for all of us but the official opening of this building is chance to celebrate what can be achieved by everyone working together to support the NHS and local communities, just as she would have wanted”.
Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood Helen Hayes said:
“I am delighted to be part of the official opening on the Tessa Jowell Health Centre. This facility has been a lifeline for so many in Dulwich and West Norwood ever since it opened during the pandemic. It is fitting that it is named after Dame Tessa who fought so hard for this facility during her time in Parliament and would have been so proud to see it up and running. The Centre is a part of Tessa’s legacy and the legacy of a Labour government which invested in our NHS. I look forward to seeing the Tessa Jowell Health Centre continue to thrive and serve the people of Dulwich and West Norwood so well.”
Dr Nancy Küchemann, GP and Co-Chair of Partnership Southwark said:
“We’re delighted to officially open the centre. The centre supports thousands of patients across the borough with care closer to home and has helped to support integration between different organisations and different medical teams. The centre is also very much a part of the community and we’re proud of how people and communities have been part of the centre; right from its approval, to the design and now through the art group and other activities in the building.”
Wendy Farrington-Chadd, Chief Executive of CHP said:
“I’m delighted the Tessa Jowell Health Centre has received its official opening. Working in collaboration with our NHS and private partners to deliver this much needed health facility during the peak of the pandemic is a testament to the partnership working across all parties. The centre delivers a range of health services benefiting many residents of East Dulwich, providing a one stop shop for patients and reducing the need to travel to the local acute hospital, its also transformed working conditions for staff enabling them to deliver services in a safe and fit for purpose environment.”
CEO of Fulcrum and Chair of the LIFT Council, Sarah Beaumont-Smith said:
“The Tessa Jowell Health Centre was delivered in the most challenging of circumstances during the pandemic but shows the strength of the public and private sectors working together to support the NHS and community health. As the whole country celebrates 75 years of the NHS, it is a fitting time to officially open this building which offers a shining example of the future of Primary Care provision.”