Call to speed up new Ellon health centre

Ellon Health Centre - calls have been made for plans for a new facility to be speeded up.
Ellon Health Centre - calls have been made for plans for a new facility to be speeded up.

Health bosses have been urged to speed up proposals for a new health centre in Ellon.

Local SNP councillor Rob Merson has warned that unless swift moves are made to identify a replacement, all potentially suitable sites in the town centre could be snapped up for other uses.

His call came as NHS Grampian confirmed that the medical centre will be included in its reassessment of primary care premises.

NHS Grampian chief executive Richard Carey had been contacted by North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes about the Ellon situation.

He told her that NHS Grampian has prioritised two primary care developments – replacement of Inverurie Health Centre and Denburn Health Centre in Aberdeen.

Mr Carey added: “We are currently in the process of re-assessing our primary care premises priorities and any new developments would have to be assessed alongside other localities where there are existing needs to establish, extend and/or replace primary care facilities.

“I can confirm that Ellon Medical Centre will be fully included in that exercise which we hope to conclude in the next few months.”

Councillor Merson said he had been pursuing the prospect of a new centre with health chiefs and Ellon Medical Group since 2009.

One possible development had failed to get off the ground but he was told that Ellon had been identified as a Community Health Partnership priority in the draft NHS 2014-2024 New Premises Strategy.

Councillor Merson told the Times: “It has therefore come as a considerable disappointment that NHS Grampian would appear to have failed to engage with Aberdeenshire Council in the consultation process for the new Local Development Plan, which covers the five-year period from 2016-2021.

“Part of that process involves discussion and deliberation on the preferred use for the split site currently occupied by Ellon Academy, and due to be vacated when they move to their new community campus at Cromleybank in June, 2015 – among others.”

He said he recently written to Mr Carey to clarify the position.

The councillor added: “Unless NHS Grampian comes forward with early proposals for the location of a new health centre, it may find that all the potentially suitable town centre sites have been designated for other uses, potentially leaving NHS Grampian with less-than-optimum sites for the future.”

Meanwhile, local Conservative councillor Gillian Owen said Ellon had outgrown the current health centre.

She added: “What we greatly need is a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates as many health-related services as possible under one roof.

“A campaign has been running for sometime to get NHS Grampian to prioritise Ellon and I am delighted that this has borne fruit.

“There are plenty of options locally for a new health centre to move to, especially when the Academy moves to Cromleybank.”