WORK on Greenock's new £21m health centre is expected to start later this month after funding for the project was released.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) has now been given the go-ahead and the cash from the Scottish Government to begin construction work on the former Wellington Academy site.

There is no exact start date as yet but work is expected to begin within weeks and is scheduled for completion in autumn 2020.

Once completed, the new-build will replace the current health centre in Duncan Street, which is in a state of disrepair and no longer fit for purpose.

Simon Carr, chairman of Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), said: "I am delighted work is now ready to begin on this new centre. "It is another major milestone in our plans to deliver a modern, state-of-the-art health and care centre to the people of Greenock.

"Our commitment to tackling health inequalities in the area and promoting social regeneration is clearly demonstrated by this centre and the benefits it will bring to local people.

"The national transformation of primary care means that this project is not just a simple replacement of an existing facility. "It is about taking the opportunity to create a centre where people can expect to be supported by a wide range of professionals, closer to their home, and be enabled to live healthier, more independent lives."

The new health centre will house GP surgeries, physiotherapy, Sandyford sexual health services, health visiting and school nursing, community dental services and a pharmacy.

There will also be social work assessment and care, district nursing, podiatry and dieticians all based in the building.

John Brown, chairman, NHS GGC, said: "The current facilities at Greenock Health Centre are out-dated and not ideal for the provision of modern health and social care services.

"We need accommodation that helps us deliver services where there is an emphasis in delivering more care outside hospitals and in local communities.

"Therefore the new purpose built centre has been designed to be much more than a simple replacement of the existing facility. "It has the potential to bring together the key elements from a range of professions to tackle health inequalities, improve health and contribute to social regeneration."

The final plans for the new centre were approved by the health board in October and they have now been given the green light and financial support from the government.