On Friday afternoon, along with a couple of other action group members I attended a meeting at our local PCT headquarters to get an update on progress with our clinic at Tanhouse Community Centre. My wife has been working on a snappy name for our group and finally came up with Tanhouse Action Group or TAG. It does what it says on the tin and gives us a bit more legitimacy I suppose, but I digress. The meeting had initially been with elected representative and we had been invited at the eleventh hour a fact not missed by one councillor who sitting next to me ringed up the fact on the meeting papers which were handed out. This particular Cllr. I have not been well pleased with lately because of what I see has spurious claims on her web site and in the press. I found her meeting etiquette unacceptable interrupting other speakers and she was very rude in fact at one stage I though my wife was about to jump on her. This Cllr. was more concerned with a clinic for her ward which however way you look at it is a long way off but she persisted although she was careful to prefix her remarks with the caveat that she did not want to prevent this project going forward. It was not until another Cllr. pointed out quite forcibly that we were there to discuss the Tanhouse Clinic feasibility that she quietened down.
The feasibility study is progressing well and we were shown architects drawing of what the site might look like. Two local Doctors have expressed an interest in going into the new facilities. The proposal along with full costing is to go before the PCT board in January and in February the Council who are the other partner, should sign off any funding if it is required from them. We were given assurances that the costs would be included in the PCTs financial projections for next year. A consultation process will take place but I have concerns at how this might be conducted. The PCT do not have a good record in doing surveys in our ward. Why do they have to waste money on this consultation when it is the local community who have been pushing for the facility?
The time line for completion gives me concerns because if you listen to what they say you could be mistaken for thinking they are building the Forth Bridge instead of re-furbishing an existing building. My estimate for completion would be May next year; theirs is August to Christmas 2010.
So, progress I hope. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep TAG together just in case further protests are required. I requested a joint press release but I don’t think that had much support.
I’m convinced that without a Labour Cllr. in our ward forcibly pushing for this facility within the controlling Labour group and the work of TAG and support by MP Tom Watson this project would not be moving forward. All our ward Cllrs. are behind it but clearly adjoining ward Cllrs have their own agenda. The Tories never turned up. Can they be trusted with the NHS? Not on this occasion.
What did surprise me was the amount of money that had been spent on refurbishing the PCT headquarters. The loos were so posh it was a shame to pee in them. I do hope they don’t try to tell us a little further down the line that they can’t afford our project.