£33,000 wasted on Keighley health service plan, T&A investigation reveals (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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£33,000 wasted on Keighley health service plan, T&A investigation reveals
Plans for a £15 million health and wellbeing centre in Keighley cost taxpayers £33,000 before being scrapped earlier this year, the Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal.
A three-month public consultation into the centre in 2010 cost £24,074 and saw leaflets sent to 16,000 households to get public feedback.
But in January the NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds Primary Care Trust announced it would not be moving ahead with the centre, instead focusing on “community-based” healthcare and investing £300,000 into improving the existing Keighley Health Centre on Oakworth Road.
Figures revealed by the Trust under the Freedom of Information Act show that £13,000 was spent on market research before the consultation, £11,000 on printing flyers and delivering details to the 16,000 households and £9,467 on professional advisors who helped put the plans together.
These figures do not include any staff costs. Councillors have criticised the way the decision was announced – many didn’t know the plan had been scrapped until the NHS issued a press release in January, and one pointed out that considering the amount spent on the consultation, the decision to scrap the project seemed much more low key.
The centre would have involved investment from Bradford Council and offered NHS and council services, as well as a space for voluntary groups.
Dr Phil Pue, chief clinical officer for the Trust, met councillors to explain the decision, and said their priority was “services, not bricks and mortar.”
The Freedom of Information request reveals the Council’s press office was informed of the decision in November, as was Keighley MP Kris Hopkins via a phone conversation.
Also in November, the Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee were told a report recommending the idea be scrapped was imminent. In January ward councillors were told.
Coun Adrian Naylor (Independent, Craven) said: “Considering they spent £33,000 on a consultation to build a health centre there was a surprising lack of consultation to not build it. They are only spending £300,000 to fix up the existing health centre, so £33,000 would have gone a long way.”
Coun Jan Smithies, (Labour, Keighley West) said: “I think this project is the victim of the massive changes in the NHS.”
Coun Doreen Lee (Labour, Keighley East) said: “They have spent £33,000, but that could easily double when you take into account the time NHS and Council staff spent working on this. I have said this before but this whole process has been diabolical.”