Grantown health centre: Delays to building works could cost extra £500k

Patients are facing a round trip of at least 30 miles for treatment elsewhere after funding for the building works was paused.

Halting the construction of a health centre in the Highlands could add £500,000 to the cost.

The Scottish Government has paused spending on NHS capital projects across Scotland. In Grantown, it leaves patients a round trip of at least 30 miles for treatment elsewhere.

Local GPs are hosting a public meeting on Thursday to update patients.

Builders have been left to weather-proof their unfinished labours while more than halfway to completing a renovation and extension of Grantown health centre, which was approved nine years ago.

Practice partner Dr Al Miles said: “The 1960s part of the hospital was to be demolished to make way for the extension and that would allow us to accommodate all the services that the community were promised as part of this project would be retained in Grantown-on-Spey.

“Now, as it stands, with the project being paused, we don’t think we can accommodate those services within the footprint of the building that we’re left with.”

He added: “We were struggling, bursting at the seams before this project. We don’t have an increase in clinical space with the work that’s been done so far.

Dr Al Miles

“That can affect our ability to train future doctors which can cause problems for the future of our practice here.”

Local GPs are concerned that services will have to switch to Aviemore Hospital, in breach of promises from NHS Highland.

The community hope the government will answer calls to continue the development.

Patient Freda Reid said: “Hopefully, we can get the Scottish Government to see that we need this badly and we will stand up until we get it done.

“Up here in the Highlands they forget, I think, that we live here and that’s more annoying as well because we desperately need this second phase to go on.”

The Scottish Government said the UK Government failed to “inflation-proof” its capital budget, resulting in almost a 10% real-terms cut in Scotland’s capital funding over the next four years.

The Scottish Government will publish what it calls a “revised pipeline of infrastructure investment” in the Spring.

It promised consideration to what projects can be included, to ensure they are affordable and deliverable.

For contractual reasons, the delay is expected to cost NHS Highland £500,000.

The board is as frustrated as the local community and waits to hear how long the pause on spending will last.

Highland Council has been contacted for comment.

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