Health chiefs defend centre delays
Liz Coates HEALTH chiefs have defended long delays over a £1.2m medical centre for Cobholm which was to have opened next month with the pioneering promise of evening and Saturday surgeries.
HEALTH chiefs have defended long delays over a £1.2m medical centre for Cobholm which was to have opened next month with the pioneering promise of evening and Saturday surgeries.
The Department of Health is due to announce this month who has won the contract to provide services at the surgery due to be built adjoining the Cobholm and Lichfield Health and Resource Centre in Pasteur Road.
Meanwhile, not a single brick has been laid at the site with a nationwide building boom fuelled by regeneration projects in towns and cities across Britain being blamed for the slippage.
Bernard Williamson, chairman of the Primary Care Trust, said pressure on the building trade was at the heart of the problem.
He added: “The people who were going to build it could not start because of other commitments.”
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He said the project had been three-and-a-half years in the pipeline and that it would offer a new level of service opening from 8am to 8pm and Saturday morning.
“It is getting the contractors to erect the building.
“The initial people lost their builders. I think there is a big pressure on building at the moment and if you are not careful people tender for jobs and are not able to fulfil them,” Mr Williamson added.
“We were hoping for a start early this year but there is some difficulty getting it started.
“It's not something we can effect.” And he suggested that Great Yarmouth could be in line for “one or two” of 150 new walk-in health centres open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, announced by the government this month.
Penny Linden, borough councillor for Cobholm, said she was disappointed by the delay but reassured local people who campaigned for a surgery for more than 20 years that it was still going ahead and that she hoped work would start soon.
“We just have to hang on,” she said.
Diane Collier, the trust's head of corporate development, said: “The trust remains very much committed to providing new GP and medical services at the Cobholm and Lichfield Health and Resource Centre.
“Plans to move current service from the Nelson Medical Centre to the new purpose built, single-storey development remain the same.
“Negotiations with developers are on-going and we hope to have a start date by the end of April.”
The new centre will include four GP consulting room, two treatment and minor operation rooms, two multi- purpose clinic rooms, a waiting room and pharmacy as well as a range of other services.
People in Cobholm and Lichfield will have the option to re-register with a GP at the new surgery.
Patients from the Nelson Medical Centre in Churchill Road, which is closing, face catching a bus even if they feel ill.