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Keighley's second-class health centre is branded a joke
Only a tiny fraction of the £15 million earmarked for the now-scrapped new Keighley Health Centre will be spent on improving the existing building, the Keighley News can exclusively reveal.
Up to £300,000 – just two per cent of the figure allocated for the state-of-the-art replacement complex – has been set aside for repairs.
The news has sparked fury, with one politician accusing the NHS of giving Keighley a “second-class service”.
And there are concerns the decision is budget-driven.
“I’m disgusted,” said Keighley East Labour councillor Doreen Lee, a member of Bradford Council’s health scrutiny committee.
“The NHS has £1 million from Bradford Met for this, so are we going to get the change? The council needs it.
“And what about all the money spent on the consultation – how much did that cost? They have wasted public money to deliver a second-class service.
“We are being badly let down. It’s an absolute joke.”
NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds said the U-turn over the new centre was due to a shift in emphasis towards community-based support teams, offering services in people’s homes and preventing unplanned hospital visits.
It added the current, 35-year-old centre in Oakworth Road would be retained and brought up to standard.
Maintenance work costing about £160,000 is to be carried out, with most of the money earmarked for renewing the roof covering.
A further £140,000 will be used to create new consultation rooms and “remodel” waiting and reception areas for the GP practice.
Coun Adrian Naylor (Ind), who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, said there were many questions that needed answering.
And he has asked for the issue to be discussed at a meeting next health scrutiny committee on February 21, of which he is also a member.
“I want to make sure this isn’t purely a budget decision,” he said. “Also, questions still remain about how the services are going to be delivered.”
Coun Naylor has voiced anger that although the council pledged £1 million to the project, the NHS changed its plans without engaging the authority.
The location for a new health centre, on the site of the existing one, had been chosen after extensive public consultation.
But NHS officers say that since the proposal initially gathered support, the context had changed and the focus now was on integrating care services rather than a “building-based solution”.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said he understood from management services would now, where possible, be located close to residential areas rather than at a single site.
“Whilst there remains a need for the existing premises to be refurbished, a large-build project is no longer deemed necessary, thereby freeing up additional resources for patient care itself,” he said.
A spokesman for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds said: “During the past 12 months, work to upgrade the car park and replace the windows at Keighley Health Centre has taken place, and additional backlog maintenance for the whole site, including a new roof covering, is due to start soon.”