A new private healthcare centre being opened in Birmingham is set to create 75 jobs this year.
And the move has been hailed by local business groups after the company running the centre said the jobs would be aimed at people made redundant by the recession.
Private treatment firm Hunters Moor Neurorehabilitation has spent £3.5 million on a two-stage transformation of a disused former nursing home in Hall Green into a centre to treat people with brain injuries.
The first centre, the Olive Carter Unit, is set to open on July 19, employing 25 people.
In November it will be joined by the Janet Barnes Unit on an adjacent site, which will create another 50 jobs.
The company said it would be looking to recruit both clinical specialists and administration jobs.
Hunters Moor, which is based in the North-east, has been working on the site on Cateswell Road for three months.
Both centres are named after deceased relatives of the directors of the firm.
The 35-bed private facility will be used for the physical rehabilitation of people after brain and spinal injuries as well as those with MS and Parkinson’s disease and stroke victims.
The company is looking to recruit administration staff alongside physiotherapists, speech therapists and psychologists for the centre.
Hunters Moor said the opening of the facility would be the first time brain injury sufferers and patients with degenerative diseases in the Midlands could get treatment locally, rather than having to travel to London.
The firm’s medical director, Professor Mike Barnes, said: “Our aim is to open nine centres around the UK in the next few years.
‘‘We chose the West Midlands first as there are very good hospital and acute rehab facilities but few longer term ‘slow stream’ rehab facilities given the population of the region.
“We’ve had a good welcome from the local clinicians and health providers in that part of the world and are looking forward to working with the community in the West Midlands to make it into a national centre of excellence.
‘‘In terms of our expansion, we think there is room for another unit in the Black Country and in the East Midlands.”
The opening of the clinical unit was welcomed by local business promotion groups as a good result, particularly at a time when public sector budgets were starting to come under strain.
Mike Loftus, the manager of inward investment group Locate in Birmingham, said it was good to see jobs being created across a wide range of skill-sets.
He added: “What’s good about this is that they are very keen in looking to take people out of long-term unemployment. Clearly in terms of looking to bring new investment and new employment into the city this is an example of the kind of jobs we are trying to bring in.
‘‘Some of it’s quite sophisticated, but others are more straightforward jobs.
“Even in these dark times we are in discussion with a whole range of people – there is still recruitment and new investment coming into Birmingham.”
Hunters Moor was launched two years after a North-east rehab centre of the same name was closed by the NHS.
Two of its directors – Prof Barnes and colleague John Donovan – wanted to keep its name alive by creating a private business which would offer the same services.
The company quickly developed as a community rehab team helping people recover after serious brain injuries.
The company started expanding around the UK after securing investment from London firm United Medical Enterprises.
The Cateswell Road site in Hall Green had been unused for three years since the care home that used to occupy it closed down.