HEALTH bosses are looking into the possibility of expanding Colne’s health centre to solve current overcrowding problems.
Last September, NHS East Lancashire announced that plans to build a new health centre on the former Kwik Save site in Craddock Road had been put on hold because of spending cuts.
Trust bosses are now looking into three options to try to solve the overcrowding issues at the existing centre in Market Street.
A meeting of the board of NHS East Lancashire’s Primary Care Trust heard from Colne councillor Ann Kerrigan who expressed disappointment that original plans for a new health centre were not going ahead.
She said: “People in Colne are not receiving the same health care services as others across East Lancashire. One of the problems is that lack of room at Colne Health Centre. The centre is too small meaning patients often have to stand while awaiting treatment.
“The PCT has recently employed a number of graduate mental health workers. But no GPs in Colne can refer their patients to this service as Colne Health Centre has not treatment rooms. This is so wrong and just one example of inadequate health care for Colners.”
The board heard from Jackie Hadwen from the Local Improvement Finance Trust who said she understood the pressing need for improved health care facilities in Colne.
She said: “Taking investment forward at this time is difficult, we need to give priority to services but at the same time acknowledge that leaving things as they are is unacceptable. We have a list of three options for Colne which I hope balance raising people’s expectations with looking practically at what we can afford to do.”
One of the options put forward is to keep the current centre and create more space for patients by relocating some service elsewhere.
The second possible solution is to sell off part, or all of the Kwik Save site which had been earmarked for the new centre and extend the current centre.
The final option is to look for a third party to invest into health care facilities on the Kwik Save site, selling off the Market Street centre.
Ms Hadwen stressed discussions needed to take place with GPs and the public to find the best solution.