Priority call for new health facilities

Councillor calls for progress on plans to replace the medical centre
Councillor calls for progress on plans to replace the medical centre

Health officials have confirmed that new facilities are a top priority for Banchory.

It comes after a local councillor called for action to replace the ageing portacabins which serve as the town’s health centre.

The buildings are grossly inadequate with no room for expansion and are way past their sell by date

Cllr Jill Webster Banchory and Mid Deeside

Councillor Jill Webster raised the issue at last week’s Marr Area Committee when she asked for it to be included as a priority in the council’s Marr Community Plan for 2016-19.

Provision for new health facilities in Banchory is included in the local development plan, possibly on land at Silverbank.

Councillor Webster claimed the current Banchory Group Practice is too small for the town and surrounding area.

She said: “The buildings are grossly inadequate with no room for expansion and are way past their sell by date. The consulting rooms are largely in portacabins which only have temporary planning permission and which runs out in August.

“This could be a flagship project housing health staff, social work staff and voluntary sector staff - it could be a beacon of what the brand new policy of Health and Social Care integration can be.”

Fellow councillor Karen Clark said: “Our GPs and their staff at the Bellfield do an amazing job but they struggle with a practice bursting at the seams and also have to contend with leaking portakabins which are now ten years old.

“The key issue now is securing the funding stream to build the centre and I am optimistic a report will come forward soon.

“I would hope that we aim high and ensure that what we end up with is a Banchory health and social care hub that is a centre of excellence we all can be proud of.”

Colleague councillor Linda Clark said local representatives had held a “very productive meeting” with NHS officials recently when there had been a “positive undertaking” to progress the health centre, which serves Banchory and district, including a large number of patients from Drumoak and Durris.

She added: “Our area needs and deserves a new health centre as do all the medical people who take care of us.”

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We will be in contact with Aberdeenshire Council regarding the temporary buildings to find a way forward while we pursue a solution.

“New health facilities in Banchory are a top priority and are included in the Local Development Plan for health.”