Fresh calls for new health centre in Banchory

Councillor Ann Ross at the town's medical practice
Councillor Ann Ross at the town's medical practice

The Scottish Government is being urged to provide vital funding for new medical facilities in Banchory.

Local councillor Ann Ross is calling for support to lobby ministers to free up the purse strings to fund a much-needed replacement health centre.

A new and improved doctors’ surgery and healthcare facilities were identified as a priority in the recently-published local action plan.

Councillor Ross said the town is crying out for improved medical facilities

She told the Piper this week: “The facilities at the Banchory Group Practice are now outdated, and portacabins, which were supposed to be a temporary measure are having to be used on a permanent basis.

“The dedicated and enthusiastic GPs and team of practice and community stafcallf should be commended for delivering care in conditions that are not fit for purpose to an ever-increasing population.”

A possible site for a new health centre has been highlighted in the local development plan at Silverbank.

Councillor Ross added: “I understand that initial work has started looking at the needs of the people of the area, and that a community-based project group is to be involved in the development process.

“The people of Banchory and the surrounding area want to see a modern, newly-built facility which is easily accessible to everyone, with an improved range of outreach services being available.

“There is however no funding for this project, and we all need to lobby the Scottish Government to make finance available for this to become a reality.

“With the integration of health and social care, and the new Health and Social Care Integrated Joint Board, this is an opportunity for Banchory to host a flagship project to integrate the two services.”

Banchory Community Council chair Mary Lennox said: “We feel that the current Bellfield building is very much past its sell-by-date and hope that NHS Grampian will commit to the provision of new facilities soon. We understand that Banchory is considered a high priority and we wish to continue to work alongside our local health professionals to ensure that the needs of the town and the wider neighbourhood are met as soon as possible.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The integration of health and social care is one of the most significant reforms since the establishment of the NHS. It is about ensuring that those who use services get the right care and support whatever their needs, at any point in their care journey. This proposal is at a very early stage and we would welcome seeing how the local authority will make progress in this area with their Integrated Joint Board.”

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “New healthcare facilities for Banchory remains a priority for the Partnership and NHS Grampian. Plans are progressing and discussions on how this project will be funded are ongoing.”