Anger over decision on Keighley's £15m health centre plan

First published in Keighley by

Anger has erupted at news Keighley will not now get its planned £15 million health and well-being centre.

A new purpose-built complex was to be developed on the site of the existing Keighley Health Centre in Oakworth Road.

The location was chosen after extensive public consultation, and Bradford Council pledged £1 million to the project.

But NHS chiefs have this week announced the scheme has been scrapped. Instead, there will be improvements to the current centre and more emphasis on “community-based support teams” to offer services in people’s homes and prevent unplanned hospital visits.

Craven ward councillor, Adrian Naylor, said Bradford Council had been left “high and dry” by the NHS when they should have been acting as partners.

“I am surprised that despite going out to consultation, the decision appears to have been made by the NHS without engaging with Bradford Council,” said Coun Naylor, who sits on the council’s health scrutiny committee. He has asked for the issue to be raised as an urgent item at a future meeting.

“We had the million pounds in the fund for several years. That money could have been spent where it was needed. Now a decision has come out of the blue and it seems the NHS just hasn’t bothered to let us know.

“The key point for me is if they are not going ahead with the building, how will they deliver the services?”

Keighley East Labour councillor, Doreen Lee, who is also a member of the health scrutiny committee, said: “It is a great shock this isn’t going ahead.

“A lot of money was spent on planning it, and in hindsight, that money should have been put to better use for the people of Keighley. I’m not happy.”

Council leader, Coun David Green, said he was seeking an explanation for the U-turn.

“Clearly we need further consultation to ascertain why they don’t wish to invest in a new health centre in Keighley,” he added.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said he had set aside a significant pot of money during his time as council leader to support the building of a new centre.

He added: “I hope Coun Green will now confirm this money will still go towards healthcare provision in Keighley – ideally with a concentration on improving services for older residents.”

The new centre would have incorporated family doctors, dentists, end-of-life care, physiotherapy, community nurses and voluntary care groups.

Kevin Howells, acting chief executive of NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, defended the decision.

He said: “We are committed to working with our partners to improve health and social care services for the people of Keighley and are excited by the development of integrated care, as it truly focuses on the needs of patients and offers a new, innovative and flexible way of working.”

* What do you think? We welcome letters on this or any other subject. E-mail richard.parker@-keighleynews.co.uk or write to The Editor, Keighley News, 80-86 North Street, Keighley BD31 3AG.

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