MORE than 9,000 doctors’ patients will finally move to a £2.5 million state-of-the-art health centre in Kendal in December.

The Captain French Surgery on Captain French Lane gets the keys to the purpose-built Gillinggate Centre on December 17.

It is on the site of the old St John Boste Social Club and opens for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

The old surgery closes for good on December 28 and its telephone numbers remain the same.

The new development has been hailed by medical professionals as the first new health facility in Kendal for 15 years.

The business will retain its Captain French brand name and there are hopes to eventually expand its patient list to around 12,000.

Captain French Surgery is run by six partners, Dr Michael and Catherine Brennan, Dr Simon Edgecombe, Dr Julia Pigott, Dr Daniel Hughes and Dr Amy Lee.

Dr Peter Suntha also works there, as do six in the nursing team and more in administration, making a total of more than 30 staff.

Practice manager Linda Farish said the current surgery was dated and cramped and it had been unable to grow.

The new centre will provide 13 consulting rooms, three specialist treatment rooms, conferencing facilities, more privacy for patients wanting to discuss confidential health matters, and will also meet new regulations including facilities for disabled people and easier patient parking.

Mrs Farish said the doctors will act as the main leaseholders but will then sub-lease to provide a sexual health service currently offered by the NHS from Weavers Court in Kendal.

A Rowlands Pharmacy will see the traditional-fronted chemist premises, The Highgate Pharmacy, move from its home on Highgate and into the new centre.

A consortium of charities will also look to take space in the new centre including Age UK.

Mrs Farish said: “We hope the additional services offered at the centre will make things a little more seamless.

“We have found it difficult to offer additional support to people, having to tell them to go off and find somewhere in the town centre.

“Now we can advise them to just simply pop downstairs. “There will be more of a collaboration and it will give these types of services more chance of success.”

Dr Alistair Mackenzie, Lead GP for South Lakeland, said: “This new development is good news for residents across Kendal.

“This new health facility will not only provide a new modern home for one of our larger GP surgeries, but it will also provide more room for community based health services.”

The development is being managed by specialist health-care developer GP Group.