Impressed patients spark MP’s visit in Herstmonceux

Anita Taylor, Bea Simmons, Dr John Simmons, Greg Barker
Anita Taylor, Bea Simmons, Dr John Simmons, Greg Barker

Patients were so impressed with a new eco-friendly doctors surgery in Herstmonceux they urged their local MP to go and take a look at the building.

The £1million Herstmonceux Integrative Health Centre in Hailsham Road opened its doors to the public last month after 14 months of development.

The new surgery boasts five consulting rooms, and a separate minor surgery suite and is eco-friendly with a grass roof, biomass boiler, bio-digester and recycled furniture from the 2012 Olympics.

Herstmonceux MP Greg Barker was urged to visit the eco-friendly health centre by patients who were so impressed they wrote to tell him about it. Greg visited the health centre last week and was given a tour of the sustainable building by Dr John Simmons who project-managed the build.

He explained to Greg that the architect-designed building produced its own heating and hot water using the bio-mass boiler, reduced reliance on electricity by installing sun pipes and large windows to make the most of natural light as well as a natural ventilation system.

Waste is treated in the bio-digester and the building is made of locally-sourced materials to blend in with the natural environment. The new building also provides medical facilities that could never have been offered in the former cramped surgery building which include GP offices, nurse treatment rooms and a dedicated minor surgery room. In addition, a meeting room downstairs provides space for holistic treatments, fitness classes and group health awareness

Greg said: “I am really impressed with the new integrated health centre at Herstmonceux.

“I know that Dr Simmons and his team have worked extremely hard to see his vision of a sustainable and environmentally friendly health centre become a reality. I can see why his patients are delighted with the welcoming new facilities which promote health and well-being.”

Becky Simmons, from the practice, added: “It was a great day. It was really nice for us because we have all worked so hard and it was so nice to get postitive feedback from the Energy and Climate Change minister.

“He really understood what we had been trying to do and I think impressed we could do this with a NHS building which is quite unusual. I think he was amazed we have made no impact on the countryside with the design and we blend in. He came in and said the atmosphere was lovely and peaceful and that was great to hear because that is what we aimed to achieve. I think he was quite overwhelmed. He said he was going to follow everything that we do. He really loved the building, the light and the fludity of it.”

Work on the new centre began in 2012 after village support and fundraising.