It’s the future, says Minister after visit to state-of-art Todmorden health centre

Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

Todmorden News | By Staff Copy | NHS Calderdale | 5 November 2009

HEALTH centres like Todmorden’s are the best way to get value for money while meeting patients’ needs, Health Secretary Andy Burnham said when he visited the £10 million state-of-the-art premises last Friday.

Mr Burnham made his visit to mark the first year of operation of the centre, which houses Todmorden Group Practice, Calderdale Hospital Foundation Trust and other health services.

He was greeted by chief executive of NHS Calderdale, Rob Webster, and lead partner of Todmorden Group Practice, Dr Jane Keighley, who took him on a tour of the building.

Mr Burnham spent some time with staff working for the foundation trust, patients at the walk-in centre at the site, paramedics from the community paramedic scheme, GPs and community district nurses.

As well as medical matters he also spoke to Pam Warhurst and the headteacher of Todmorden High School, Mr Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, about healthy eating and the Incredible Edible Todmorden scheme and visited the health centre’s apothecary garden.

Pam said: “It’s the first incredible edible health centre where people can see food growing and pick it. We hope it will be a model for health centres in Calderdale, if not the country.”

From his own Labour Party he was accompanied by Calder Valley MP Chris McCafferty and the party’s candidate for the seat at the next election, Steph Booth.

Mr Burnham said he was “blown away” by the centre. “It’s a fantastic facility that has transformed healthcare in Todmorden. It’s a symbol of the modern NHS,” he said.

Asked about cuts that could have to be made because of the country’s economic situation, he said the Todmorden centre was an example of where a service could be improved as well as better meeting patients’ needs.

“The answer lies in the hospital doing more in the community,” he said. “We can save money and make it better – that’s the big challenge for the NHS. We want the NHS to become more preventative, efficient and people-centred and we can do all those things at the same time.
“There’s a lot of duplication in the system but if we can cut it out we can make it better for patients and spend the money better.”

Mrs McCafferty said the Todmorden centre was a form of cottage hospital – but one equipped for the 21st century. 
Mrs Booth said: “It’s putting healthcare back into the community and only going to hospital when absolutely necessary, it’s taking care back closer to people’s homes.”

The health centre, which is one of the most modern in Calderdale, was funded and developed by health provider Assura working in conjunction with LSP Developments and doctors at the Todmorden Group Practice.

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