Moray SNP News
Richard Lochhead MSP and Cllr Theresa Coull have attended multi-agency talks on the campaign for a new Keith Health Centre.
Mr Lochhead and Cllr Coull met with representatives from NHS Grampian, Health and Social Care Moray, and Moray Council to discuss the next steps in delivering a replacement health centre and community hospital for Keith and the surrounding area.
The Council confirmed that both possible sites identified are located on Banff Road, nearby the Community Centre and Keith Grammar School.
A key date in the process is February where a proposal could be put to NHS Grampian's Asset Management Review, which will determine whether the health board can begin work on a business case.
NHS Grampian acknowledged that the current facility is too small for the current needs of the community and that it is preventing the surgery from becoming a training practice, which is an important part of recruiting and retaining GPs.
Commenting, Richard Lochhead MSP said:
"It was helpful to sit down with the public agencies involved to discuss where Keith Health Centre currently sits on the list of priorities and next steps involved in moving plans forward.
"Everyone at the meeting recognises the need for a new health centre and hospital for Keith, given that the current facility is too small to meet the community's needs and there's no room for expansion.
"At the moment there are no costs worked out for a possible replacement so right now NHS Grampian is unsure as to how much funding would be needed to make the community's ambitions a reality.
"It's clear that the staff and the Keith Patient Participation Group are eager to get to the stage where a business plan can begin to be developed and the Asset Management Group meeting in February is key to that.
"Right now, it does look like the delivery of a replacement health centre may be a few years away due to the pressures on the Scottish Budget. However, the U.K. Government budget is fast approaching and will right now be considering what allocation to give Scotland for investment in capital projects, such as this one, and I hope that Moray's Conservative MP will raise this with the Chancellor prior to the budget."
Cllr Theresa Coull added:
"With over 1000 signatures collected in the petition for a new health centre, there's clearly strong support in Keith for the campaign.
"I share the community's determination to make sure that Keith remains a priority and that the voice of the town is heard.
"It was good to get clarity from the public bodies about the location of the two identified potential sites on Banff Road and to be told that depending on the outcome of the Asset Management Group meeting in February the health board could be in a position to acquire a site.
"I know that the Patient Participation Group feel frustrated at the timescales involved and the rigourous process that has to be gone through, but they can be assured that I will continue to work closely with Richard Lochhead to keep the pressure on and to make sure that move forward in a timely manner."