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2020 will be a memorable year for us all, mostly for the wrong reasons.

However, in Brackley, 2020 will forever be remembered as the year when our new healthcare facility finally came to fruition. This project has been many years in the planning and it has had to overcome many hurdles. Finally, the initiative was taken by a private company to undertake the construction of the building and the various bodies would then be able to take occupation. Covid19 has delayed the building, partly because of reduced labour availability but also because essential materials were diverted at one point to the rapidly constructed Nightingale hospitals.

Brackley Medical Centre, the GP practice that has until now operated out of two buildings in Halse Road (Washington House and the Health Centre) will move in and become fully operational there from 16 November. Lowick Pharmacy has moved into its own part of the building.

The company that provides Occupational Health Services for the NHS has its own space. The outpatient services that are provided by the Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, and which are available to everybody – regardless of the GP practice with which you are registered – who lives in Brackley and the surrounding villages (for example physiotherapy and podiatry to name just two) will all be available in the building by the middle of December.

Finally, the pièce de résistance – the re-provisioning of the intermediate care beds that used to be served by Brackley Cottage Hospital and which have been sadly lacking since it had no alternative but to close its doors in March 2015 – will be gradually opened in the new year. There are a total of 16 beds and it is anticipated that initially eight will be in use, increasing to 12 and finally to the full complement of 16. It is important to stress that every service within the building is an NHS service and that every service (apart from the Brackley Medical Centre GP practice) is open to all, and it is expected that those facilities will also be used by patients from other communities within Northamptonshire who may look to Banbury, Towcester or Daventry, to name just three centres, for their GP services. The purpose of the local fundraising, that has been ongoing now for some two years and which has already reached the magnificent total of just over £176,000, is to enhance what is being provided as a statutory requirement and to give our residents add-on benefits – a better x-ray machine for all, TV sets and comfortable recliner chairs in all the bedrooms, plus an ultrasound machine are just the first items on the list. There will be more and the facility will continue to grow for the benefit of all. Yes, indeed, 2020 should be remembered as a VERY good year for Brackley.