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A NEW health centre in the Neath Valley which will replace two existing GP clinics is to open this month.

Pharmacy services are already operating from the Vale of Neath Primary Care Centre, which has been built on land by a McDonald’s restaurant off the A465 in Blaengwrach.

Swansea Bay University Health Board has agreed to sell the existing Glynneath and Resolven clinics, which are valued at £80,000 and £70,000 respectively.

Neath Port Talbot councillor Simon Knoyle, who represents Resolven, said options were being looked at to improve transport from Glynneath, Resolven and Cwmgwrach to the new centre when it opened. He said the health board would fund a vehicle for this purpose, and added: “We are also looking at other community funds to try to put a more suiatable transport initiative in place.”

Cllr Knoyle said a florist and handycraft shop had already opened at the vacant pharmacy beside the Glynneath clinic.

Resolven ward member, Cllr Dean Lewis, said it was hard to say how the new health centre would impact on the community until it was up and running.

Health board chiefs agreed to press forward with the Vale of Neath Primary Care Centre seven years ago, following a consultation.

In future, sales of health board assets will take into account wider benefits being offered by potential buyers, such as social enteprises.

The report before the health board said this became apparent during the sale of Fairwood Hospital in Upper Killay, Swansea, where “it was highlighted that social enterprises, while not being able to offer the highest bid, can provide beneficial services in kind to users of health, social services and community groups”.

This new guidance will apply when the surgery at Coelbren, near Onllwyn, is sold in due course.

Any concessionary sale exceeding £100,000 would have to be approved by Wales’s Minister for Health and Social Services.

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