MEDICAL staff in Horwich could be relocated to the new £6.8m health centre it has been revealed.
The new centre, in Victoria Road, will combine three medical practices— Kildonan House, Pike View and Bolton Community Practice— in order to make a super health hub of combined services.
However, in a presentation given to town councillors, it was suggested that all staff from Horwich Clinic, in Jones Street and all staff at the Adult Services and Early Intervention Service in Horwich Town Hall, could also operate from the new centre.
The future of the existing buildings, if the services were to be moved, has not yet been decided.
But Dr Anne Talbot, of the Bolton Community Leisure Trust, who led the presentation said: “It has not yet been decided which services will be in the health centre.
“The idea in principle is that the new centre will be a combination of health and social services.
“But the movement of them is yet to be decided.
“There is still a lot to be done over the next six months and a full business case will be put together with NHS Bolton and Bolton CCG.
“This is a really positive programme but we have to be clear that there are still processes that need to be gone through before it is completed.”
Cllr Marie Brady said the combination of services would be a “benefit to everyone”.
She added: “The project really is breathtaking and what they are planning to do.
“We can’t thank them enough for it.
“Combining the services is beneficial for everyone.
“The only concern is the car parking spaces but I have every confidence that that will be addressed.
“We have got very good GPs in Horwich, so combining them in one place can only be a good thing.”
Craig Rotherham, of Horwich First, said the service is “fantastic” but would cause an increase in traffic.
He added: “I support the concept of the health centre and it will provide benefits for decades to come but I just hope that the issue with parking will be taken into serious consideration.
“Car ownership is increasing year on year and it is not going to get any better and this health centre will attract people from other towns, not just local people.
“There is a deficit of 48 car parking spaces because the leisure centre and health centre will be sharing the same car park and now that we have been informed that there is going to be twice the amount of staff, which means more patients, it is an issue.
“But the increase in services is fantastic.”
The £6.8m in funding for the health centre has been secured through an NHS England grant.
The building will be erected where the existing leisure centre currently stands. That will be demolished and then rebuilt in place of a former multi storey car park.
Cllr Kevin McKeon said the centre will help with the needs of the ageing population and should not be hindered by the fixation on cars and traffic.
He said: “It is an excellent idea. We are seeing more and more the need to integrate health and social care on a national and local level.
“We have an increasing elderly population who have a range of different medical needs and it is important that we care for these people as much as we can in their local town.
“I understand that we have to do all we can to enable people to travel to the health and leisure centre and there will be a transport strategy for that.
“It is huge investment in Horwich and something that will support us for generations to come.”