Petition demands upgrade to ‘dilapidated’ Keith Health Centre

Keith Health Centre (Facebook)

PATIENTS AND STAFF at a Moray health centre have launched a campaign to end years of neglect and force NHS Grampian to take more urgent action for a much-needed upgrade.

Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead visited the Turner Memorial Hospital and Health Centre in Keith yesterday to lend his support to a campaign to upgrade the unit, which is being described as “outdated and dilapidated”.

Originally built in the 1800’s, campaigners say the building is no longer fit for purpose with some of the essential equipment in use over a quarter of a century old – with fears that it could fail at any time.

A petition has been raised calling on action from NHS Grampian and has already gathered support from around 1000 people – including the doctors working at the centre. Their fears include the lack of proper facilities for disabled patients, Dr David Rathband saying: “At the moment we have a situation where disabled people cannot get into some of the consultancy rooms.

“They are just not up to modern standards – the X-ray equipment is likely to fail and the room it is in is unable to use newer equipment.”

The campaign and petition was launched by the health centre’s Parent Participation Group in June.  This morning their chairman, Leon Stelmach, said: “Yesterday we also welcomed Douglas Ross MP, Jamie Halcrow Johnston MSP and Councillors Ron Shepherd and Donald Gatt, who visited later in the afternoon.

“They, too, are fully supportive of the campaign for the replacement of the Health Centre and the Turner Memorial Hospital with an intergrated Health and Social Services Complex to cater for the needs of Keith in premises which comply with current standards.

“This is in line with the Scottish Governments plans for the merging of Health and Social Care provision.  Meanwhile the PPG will continue collecting signatures on the petition to indicate the strength of feeling within the town and countryside.”

Following his visit to the centre Mr Lochhead said he will press NHS Grampian over the issue, saying: “It is very clear the community, local GPs and practice staff have a very powerful case.”

However, NHS Grampian insist that they have other more pressing priorities in other areas, a spokeswoman saying: “Keith Health Centre is on our list of those requiring more appropriate facilities – and we are sympathetic to exploring options. However, we have other priorities that require solutions ahead of Keith.”