Thursday, 31 January 2013
THE groundbreaking Keir Hardie Health Parks has been described as a “dream come true” as Health Minister Lesley Griffiths officially opened the £35m building.
The health park is unique in Wales, combining health and social care under one roof.
Speaking at the opening on Thursday (January 31), Dr Chris Jones, chairman of Cwm Taf Health Board and Huw Lewis, AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, said the health park will help to turn the inverse care law on its head.
Mr Lewis said: “Lesley Griffiths has shown a determination to tackle the inverse care law; this shows that the best facilities are available in the areas where people need them the most.
“Together with the upgrade to Prince Charles Hospital, Keir Hardie Health Park puts the inverse care law to one side. The people of Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding valleys have the very best healthcare facility.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Mrs Griffiths, who toured the health park after unveiling the official opening plaque, added: “This building fits in so well with the vision I and the Welsh Government have for the health service in Wales.
“As a government, we were delighted to give £33m investment to fund the building and it’s a real pleasure to be here opening it.”
The opening of the health park, together with the ongoing refurbishment of wards at Prince Charles Hospital, means Merthyr Tydfil now has some of the most modern healthcare facilities in Wales. For example, two of the seven chairs in the community dental unit have been specifically designed to be accessible to disabled patients and are the only facilities of their kind in the borough.
Mrs Griffiths said: “I am delighted to be able to open this cutting-edge health park, which will bring so many benefits to people living in Merthyr Tydfil.
“This new model of integrated health and social care will help address health inequalities and turn the inverse care law on its head.
“Cwm Taf Health Board has used the opportunities this development offered to provide a new model of high quality care, meeting the needs of the local population.”
Keir Hardie Health Park provides new modern facilities for GP practices previously based in the Hollies Health Centre, for children’s health services, mental health care and it brings a range of therapies services out of hospital and closer to people’s homes.
Plans are now being developed to build a medical school on the health park site to help train the next generation of doctors in Merthyr Tydfil.
During construction, more than 90% of the workforce employed on site came from within a 40-mile radius of Merthyr Tydfil.
Sir Mansel Aylward, chair of Public Health Wales, who developed the vision for the health park, said: “My dream has arrived. Thank you.”
Dr Chris Jones, chair of Cwm Taf Health Board, said: “Keir Hardie Health Park is a platform to launch a 21st century attack on the inverse care law and uniquely brings together all the elements of health and social care to support people and help them develop healthier lives.
“With these opportunities, the future of healthcare for citizens of Merthyr Tydfil borough can be improved and new challenges met.
“This has been an aspiration and it’s now becoming an inspiration.”
More information about Keir Hardie Health Park is available at http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/865/news/23703
Source: Cwm Taf Health Board