Health clinic plan hits buffers

Farmoor care home in Orrell, set to become the site of the new Orrell Clinic
Farmoor care home in Orrell, set to become the site of the new Orrell Clinic
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A TEN-year plan to provide a new health clinic has hit the buffers.

Councillors and residents have been campaigning for a new health facility in Orrell.

At the beginning of 2010, things looked hopeful as Dalton Park Developments Ltd submitted a planning application for a new surgery, pharmacy and community services at the Farmoor Nursing Home site, in Church Road, Orrell.

The application was approved and developers have until 2013 to act upon it.

But since then, nothing has been heard about the development and members of Orrell and Billinge Community Network are fed up about the lack of activity and plan to meet with executive to find out what is going on.

A representative from Ashton, Leigh and Wigan (ALW) PCT told members that the PCT was being disbanded and could not take on liability for any building.

Instead, liability for health care would lie with GPs, however, the transition from PCT to GP management meant that GPs were not yet in a position to assume this role.

To add to the complexity, one GP surgery, Dr O’Brien and Partners, in Recreation Drive, Billinge, will have a branch surgery at the clinic, and falls under the Halton and St Helens PCT and not ALW PCT.

Ward councillor Michael Winstanley has been campaigning for the health facility since 2001 and is frustrated by the lack of progress.

He said: “This has been running for 10 years now. If the PCTs had got their act together, we would not be in this position.”

Ashton MP Yvonne Fovargue has also joined the campaign for the clinic. She said: “I remain committed to the provision of a new clinic for Orrell – it is long overdue and I understand the frustration of the local community. The current organisational changes in the local NHS, as our local PCT faces abolition are certainly not assisting in progressing the new clinic.

“I have raised the issue with the new chief executive of the local PCT and will continue to work with all concerned to deliver this much needed facility.”

A spokesman from NHS Halton and St Helens said: “Representatives from NHS ALW and NHS Halton and St Helens are meeting local residents and the local MP this week to discuss the way forward.”