HEALTH and education enjoyed a massive boost in Blackpool as the doors opened on two multi-million pound projects.
Blackpool FC boss Ian Holloway officially launched the new £40m surgical unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital yesterday, and pupils at Layton Primary School settled into their classrooms following a £3.5m revamp.
With 10 state-of-the-art operating theatres and half of the 61 in-patient beds being in single en-suite rooms – health bosses say privacy and dignity have been key in the surgery centre’s design.
At the hospital launch, manager Holloway swapped his tangerine tie for theatre greens as he toured the new unit and unveiled a commemorative plaque.
He was also able to speak to patients and staff and even watched part of a gall bladder operation.
He said: “I’ve been blown away by what I’ve seen today, it makes me feel very proud.
“The way staff have worked co-operatively so this building was designed in the best interests of the patients is great to see.
“From chatting to them today and seeing the unit I can well imagine how it is a much better place for those who are nervous and afraid.
“It’s a privilege to see the work of the staff and I hope if I’m unlucky enough to get ill, I’m treated here.”
Surgical staff worked with architects to design the three storey purpose-built unit.
This has included features such as bigger anaesthetic rooms, recovery rooms for the most vulnerable patients being placed closest to the theatres and even surgery sessions just for children.
Patients gave the new unit a thumbs up.
James Berry, 76, from Marton, was recovering after having gall stones removed.
He said: “The unit is fantastic, I haven’t been able to fault it at all.
“It is nice coming in to such clean, new facilities and staff have been great too.”
Graham Savage, 58, from Preesall, was recovering from surgery to his leg, and added: “I’ve been very well looked after and think the unit is brilliant.
“It looks lovely and clean, the care has been great.”
In Layton, cramped and dated classrooms at the Meyler Avenue site have been replaced with bright, modern facilities, designed with more effective learning in mind.
Children were thrilled to finally get to move into the spacious new key stage one area which they have watched being built.
The school has undergone a massive programme of work in recent months as the new classrooms and hall were put in place.
Portable classrooms can now be scrapped and the whole school will be joined together for the first time when the project is finally complete after Easter.
Headteacher Roger Farley said: “The new building is simply amazing and seeing the children’s faces when they saw it for the first time was incredible.
“I think they are actually still in awe and it will make a massive difference to their learning.
“Teachers say they are already settling in and concentrating better.
“There are separate areas where children can learn in smaller groups or be taught one-to-one.
“It will make a massive difference to their education.”
Six-year-old Lewis Atkinson said: “Our new classroom is lovely, it’s so much bigger and brighter. We liked watching it being built.”