A teenager’s online petition to save a Bradford medical centre from an uncertain future has attracted more than 1,000 names in a matter of days.
James Slater, 15, who lives near Eccleshill Treatment Centre, started the petition after reading in the Telegraph & Argus that the centre could close with no contractor in place to run it after July. Staff had been told they might not have a job in 12 weeks when operator Care UK’s contract expires.
NHS Bradford District Clinical Commissioning Group, which funds the centre, admitted there was no one in place to run services there after that date, but was working hard to make sure they are not lost.
James, who is studying GCSEs at Titus Salt School, Baildon, said he hoped his petition would make a difference. The centre offers different medical services, including orthopaedics, minor plastic surgery, MRI and CT scanning and X-rays.
All 80-plus staff at the centre in Harrogate Road have been told they face losing their jobs or being relocated within the company, which could mean moving to different cities.
Care UK’s contract runs until July 7. As part of the tender process it had to submit a new bid to continue running the centre but the CCG has said its bid, along with two others from un-named companies, was “not acceptable”.
Other facilities on the site – Eccleshill Community Hospital and independent GPs practices – are not affected.
James said: “I’ve had family, and known people, who have used the treatment centre so it can be sustained locally.
“People should do all they can to show it is possible and that the centre has their support.
“The petition has really taken off and I hope it shows just how much people round here want to save it.”
A CCG spokesman said NHS Bradford Districts and NHS Bradford City CCGs were still exploring options to ensure continuity of services, which included advertising for qualified providers of diagnostic services. Potential providers would be offered the option of using Eccleshill Treatment Centre to deliver their services.
Patients with appointments before July should not be affected.
Eccleshill Treatment Centre opened in July 2005 at a cost of £6 million and was part of a push to give patients faster access to healthcare.
Patients are referred by GPs and it offers many services available at hospitals but with a much shorter waiting time.
The centre was built on the site of the former Eccleshill Upper School.
MP David Ward has now arranged a meeting with the CCG and Care UK.
Mr Ward said: “My number one priority is to service users at the centre to ensure that there is continuity of care and that health and diagnostic services are not disrupted. I hope all sides will work together in the best interests of patients.
“This must also be a very worrying time for staff as well.”
To find the petition go to change.org/en-GB/petitions/ nhs-bradford-ccg-and-care-uk-save-the-eccleshill-nhs-treatment-centre.