Oxford University is building a new health centre in Jericho, set to open in May 2012. This new ‘super surgery’ forms a part of the university’s £11.5m redevelopment of the old Radcliffe Infirmary and will serve more than 13,500 patients.
The three-storey building will provide facilities on a scale unprecedented in the area. Three surgeries and up to 12 GPs will move into the ground floor; the site will accordingly provide a clinic room dedicated to child health and additional clinic rooms, allowing for more appointments. Previously unavailable health services – such as training, educating, and consultant services – will also be made available.
Relocating to the top floor is Oxford’s Department of Public Health Care, as well as the university’s Press Offices. The Press Office declined from commenting on their own move, however they did give an update on the building works. Maria Coyle told the Cherwell that: ‘Work is well under way on the new local health centre. External brickwork and scaffolding has started. The steelwork for the lightwell roof has been installed.’
She also discussed the exact location of the new health centre; it ‘will be situated in the top left hand corner of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site, opposite the entrances to Cardigan Street and Jericho Street. Pedestrians will be able to access the health centre…from Walton Street.’
However the Cherwell has uncovered a mixed reaction to the development within the Jericho Community. Whilst Adrian Arbib from the Jericho Community Association stated that the Association’s official position was one of pleasure, speaking in his capacity as a personal citizen his view differed slightly. Although he recognised that the new centre is due to open soon, he was concerned by the fact that they had already lost ‘a significant facility in Jericho with the loss of the previous hospital facilities that were there.’
He also saw the health centre as disproportionate to the University’s overall gains in the area, saying the hospital was ‘small beer really in comparison to the massive site that the university has gained.’
There might be negative consequences for daily activities in Jericho; he also worries about potential ‘traffic, football and parking relating to, what is in a large part, a residential street and area.’ He believes these anxieties to be ‘common to quite a few people in Jericho.’