A KNUTSFORDIAN with a history of planning major projects believes he has come up with the solution to the town’s ongoing lack of medical centre.
Legh Road resident Bill Gore presented his idea to Knutsford Town Council’s health and social care working group on Tuesday, July 29.
Bill showcased his idea on the same evening John Wilbraham, chief executive of the East Cheshire NHS Trust – and the man in charge of building a new centre in the town – came to listen to the working group’s first meeting.
Campaigners have been aiming for years to build a new centre in Knutsford, with plans seemingly hitting a dead end after plans for a centre were drawn up by a team of consultants in January 2012 on the site of the current community hospital on Bexton Road.
Bill, who has a background as a project manager with Shell, decided to produce his own proposal – including costings and a location, which would be built on a triangular piece of land close to the entrance of Tatton Park.
“I’ve been ill and I felt like I needed to give something back,” he said.
“This is about thanking the health service for what they have done. In Knutsford we are blessed with doctors, nurses and admin staff who are dedicated to the patients and the question we have to ask is should we expect them to work in medical practices that are Victorian and woefully inadequate?
“The doctors see the arc around Knutsford, they see Crewe, Holmes Chapel, Congleton, Wilmslow, Sandbach and Macclesfield who have all got combined facilities. There is an issue that they are being pushed into pre-existing facilities on Bexton Road, yet they see the other towns having brand new medical centres.”
Bill presented two options – both coming in at a total cost of less than £2 million – and also included a time frame of when the centres could be built.
“There’s one or two trees in that area but the rest is brush wood,” Bill added.
“They can’t find anywhere else in Knutsford other than Bexton Road, which is ridiculous, especially as Bexton Court was closed because of the drains crumbling and getting blocked.”
Bill’s idea would be a modular construction building that could see the two-storey plan developed and a further storey built as demand increases. And he said this plan would save money for Knutsford patients.
“I really don’t believe where it is built is important,” he said.
“What is important is that we have a facility to bring the three surgeries together.
“With this modular type of construction we can build on top of it. There are people in our community who take people to the hospital for free but a taxi costs £30 one-way to Macclesfield. Some people are paying a lot of money but some of their treatment could have been dealt with locally.”
What do you think about Bill’s idea? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE man in charge of the East Cheshire NHS Trust told the Guardian this week that it was ‘continuing to work with the town’s GPs’ and remained ‘committed’ to creating a medical centre in the town.
John Wilbraham said: “We are continuing to work with local GP practices and other interested parties to identify the best way forward.
“Progress has been slow but this is a complex project involving a range of different partners and stakeholders, so it is to be expected. We remain committed to the creation of a central health and wellbeing centre in Knutsford.”