A NEW multimillion-pound health centre has launched its new community x-ray service.
It is hoped the digital facilities at Houghton Primary Care Centre will help improve access to health services and cut travelling times.
Many patients previously visited Ryhope General Hospital x-ray department, which has now closed, or went to Monkwearmouth Hospital or primary care centres in Grindon Lane, Bunny Hill and Washington.
The £21million centre, which is the fourth of its kind to be built on Wearside, has been developed by NHS South of Tyne and Wear and Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT).
Dr David Hambleton, director of commissioning development for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said the facility will be a major benefit to the local community.
“We are really pleased to launch the new diagnostic services at Houghton Primary Care Centre, which include new digital x-ray facilities,” he said.
“People who live in Sunderland, including those who previously travelled to Ryhope General Hospital for an x-ray, can now come to our Houghton centre, which is offering new digital x-rays.
“Patients can also have x-rays carried out at Monkwearmouth Hospital or at primary care centres in Grindon Lane, Bunnyhill and Washington.”
Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, also welcomed the introduction of the service.
“A big part of our work looking to the future as GP commissioners is bringing care closer to people’s homes and the launch of the new x-ray facilities at Houghton Primary Care Centre means local people have more choice and flexibility around where they attend to have an x-ray,” he said.
Other services which will be introduced at the centre include physioptherapy and healthy lifestyle, such as weight management, stop smoking and sexual health.
The centre is next to the sports centre in Houghton and connects health and leisure services.