U-turn on health in Devizes

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

This is Wiltshire | Jill Crooks | NHS Wiltshire | 26 November 2009

Plans for a health centre in Green Lane, Devizes, have been ditched at the 11th hour and instead health bosses are planning to build it next to the Quakers Walk housing development.

The choice of land at Quakers Walk, which is between the site for 244 new homes and the allotments, flies in the face of a public survey carried out last year, which resulted in just ten per cent support for the site.

The centre, called a Primary Care Centre, would house the three GP surgeries in Devizes – Southbroom, St James and Lansdowne – and services currently provided at Devizes Hospital and the Family Health Centre.

Philippa Morgan, on behalf of the Quakers Walk Protection Group, said: “This about turn by NHS Wiltshire is outrageous. The views of the community have been completely ignored. Of the 1,078 people who responded to the public survey just over ten per cent of people regarded the Quakers Walk site as the best option. Without any further consultation NHS Wiltshire has decided to completely ignore public opinion and go for the least popular and most contentious option.

“From a traffic perspective the consequences of what will surely be a large number of vehicles travelling to this centre along the already congested London Road are dire.”

NHS Wiltshire and the GPs had agreed on unused NHS owned land at Green Lane as the site for the centre. The land is next to the newly opened NHS Treatment Centre, which carries out minor operations and is run by a private company.

Just eight weeks ago artists’ impressions of the Primary Care Centre at Green Lane were shown at an exhibition at the town hall. But this week NHS Wiltshire announced they want the centre to be part of a newly announced retirement village that the St Monica Trust charity wants to build on a ten acre site next to Quakers Walk.

Jeff James, chief executive of NHS Wiltshire, said: “This is an unforeseen change in the project but we and the GPs are clear that the opportunity to work with St Monica’s on a joint scheme will offer the best outcome for people in Devizes and the surrounding area.

“Because of the way the St Monica proposal is structured it looks as though we can go ahead more quickly than at Green Lane.”

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