Plans to build a £15 million health and well-being centre in Keighley have been suddenly scrapped, with an NHS chief saying the focus was no longer on “building-based health solutions”.
Instead, health chiefs will make improvements to the existing Keighley Health Centre in Oakworth Road and promote “community-based support teams” to offer services in people’s homes and prevent unplanned hospital visits.
Plans for the centre date back to 2009, and after an extensive public consultation in 2010 the Oakworth Road site was chosen as the future home of a new, purpose-built centre that would incorporate family doctors, dentists, end-of-life care, physiotherapy, community nurses and voluntary care groups.
Bradford Council had pledged £1 million to the project.
Council leader David Green said he would now seek an urgent explanation from the NHS on why it suddenly no longer wanted to invest in the new centre.
The decision has been taken by the board of NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds.
It announced the centre was “no longer needed” because of the increased national focus on community care – which sees health, social and voluntary groups work together to treat more patients at home and reduce hospital admissions.
Kevin Howells, its acting chief executive, defended the decision, saying: “We are committed to working with our partners to improve health and social care services for the people of Keighley and are excited by the development of integrated care, as it truly focuses on the needs of patients and offers a new, innovative and flexible way of working.
“Nationally, the ways in which health and social care services need to transform now focus on integrating care rather than building-based solutions – and this offers the best way to improve care for patients and service users and make best use of taxpayers’ money.”
The NHS board added: “To help improve the physical condition of Keighley Health Centre, the board approved a programme of backlog maintenance to make improvements and free up extra space for use by Holycroft GP Surgery.”
Councillor Green said the pledged £1m remained in the Council’s accounts.