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Fit-for-purpose Chest and Heart centre reopens doors

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THE Guernsey Chest and Heart medical centre has reopened at the Oberlands following a big community effort to give the building a radical, welcoming and fresh new look.

Nurses Alison Matthews, left, and Kim Robinson in one of the new rooms in the refurbished Guernsey Chest and Heart LBG headquarters. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 26393642)

The bright, modern rooms are thermally efficient, have disabled access and toilets, new windows, new couches, new wiring and plumbing and a new IT system.

The biggest difference is the addition of two clinic rooms, enabling even more patients to take advantage of the free health screening service.

Behind the overhaul were the concerted efforts of a group of volunteers who gave their time and expertise, principally employees from Norman Piette, but numerous other local companies got involved as well.

Around 2,000 people use the service every year and it is funded entirely by donations.

The unit plays a vital role in the early detection of respiratory and circulatory diseases, and diabetes, and the screenings and blood pressure checks are carried out by fully qualified and experienced nurses.

The Lt-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, and Lady Corder officially reopened the refurbished premises on Monday evening.

Photos of the old building were on display for the gathering, with some commenting that it looked a bit like the old TV series, Prisoner Cell Block H.

Centre manager Carolyn Oxburgh was delighted with the new fit-for-purpose facilities.

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‘It’s just lovely, I cannot describe how happy I am with the new building. It’s light, it’s airy, it just looks more welcoming and I think it will be much nicer for the clients.

‘It’s such a pleasure to come into work. It’s warm, it’s bright, we’re so pleased with it.

‘Our previous facilities just had two rooms that we could see clients in and we had two nurses seeing each client for blood testing and other procedures.

‘But everything has become much easier now with new equipment for doing, for example, cholesterol testing, so really our problem was that we only needed one nurse to see each client instead of the old requirement, so this new building means that we’ve got four rooms, so we can see a lot more people through the door and hopefully make a big difference.’

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One of the most impressive aspects of the revamp is the way local businesses responded to the call to arms over the last couple of years.

Among them were Peter Falla, from architects PF+A Ltd, who drew up the plans to make the building more accessible.

A team from Norman Piette rolled up their sleeves and Steve Powell from the company said it had been a very rewarding project.

‘In total, we’ve been here for seven months, we’ve done just over 1,500 man hours, all voluntarily.

‘There’s about 22 of us who have worked on the project and that involved working during the day and also in our own personal time at weekends.’

. The new-look centre will be open to the public for viewing on Saturday between 9am and noon.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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