UK first sexual health development in for planning permission

The application will be heard at the City of Edinburgh Council's planning committee tomorrow (Wed, Jan 14th).

The new £9m centre, to be based at the existing Chalmers Hospital in Lauriston Place, will be home to a UK first, a pioneering initiative to integrate family planning and genito-urinary medicine into one single service.

The project involves the demolition of parts of the rear of the building and a total refurbishment of the hospital's interior. A three storey extension to the south of the site will also be created under the plans to be considered by the council's planning committee.

David Small, general manager, Edinburgh Community Health Partnership (CHP), said:

"This development will sympathetically breathe new life into a historic building which has given great service to the people of Lothian."

Dr Gordon Scott, lead clinician for the new service, said:

"Our new one-stop sexual health service will deliver a seamless service for the public, where for example patients attending GUM clinics can be referred for contraception advice provided in the same building at the same time.
"At present, both services are provided from different places, making it less convenient for service users to take advantage of all the sexual health services we provide."
"Providing a one stop service will also allow healthcare professionals to work more closely together, in line with the Scottish Government's Scottish Sexual Health Strategy."

Chalmers Hospital first opened in 1864 and was previously home to X ray facilities and one of a number of community midwifery units. Alternative arrangements have been made for these services, with construction set to start on the Chalmers Hospital site in spring 2009.

NHS Lothian's Family Planning and Well Woman Service is currently based at Dean Terrace in Stockbridge, while GUM is based at the nearby Lauriston Buildings.

Patients have been involved in the design of the new centre and have made a valued contribution to how the new building is laid out internally.

The new centre is set to open in 2010 and is expected to provide care and advice to over 50,000 patients a year. 1