Plans for huge new health centre for more than 13,000 residents finally lodged after 15-year battle

Plans for a new health centre which will serve more than 13,000 Oldham residents have officially been lodged after more than 15 years of campaigning.

Funding for a replacement centre to serve Shaw and Crompton had been confirmed by the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) in December last year. However in April the CCG had told a GP partner it was ‘withdrawing’ its support of the development due to increases in ‘costs and inflation’ triggered by the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.

But by June it had announced that it was committed to bringing the project forward, with Mike Barker, the accountable officer saying they had a ‘new deal which is fantastic news for patients and the local area’. An application has now been submitted by United Healthcare Developments Ltd to Oldham council to build a new health facility.

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It follows years of campaigning by local councillors who had argued that Crompton Health Centre is run down and local people are being ‘disadvantaged’. Oldham’s Liberal Democrats had argued the present building on High Street is ‘falling apart at the seams’, and increasingly ‘unfit-for-purpose’.

Under the new plans, there would be a three storey primary healthcare facility constructed on vacant land at Westway in Shaw on the site of the Shaw baths – known as Crompton Pool before it closed in 2014. “The three storey development will enable the delivery of enhanced primary care existing local residents whilst accommodating the provision of further community and extended services to serve the growing population within the Shaw and Crompton locality,” the planning application states.

The building would replace the current Shaw health centre
(Image: United Healthcare Developments)

The proposal is being led by the Oak Gables Partnership and the Village Medical Practice, which are both based in Crompton Health Centre.

“The development will enable the delivery of Primary Care directly to a combined patient list of 13,000 local residents whilst accommodating the provision of further community and extended services to a growing population of approximately 23,500 residents within the Shaw and Crompton locality, covered by the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group,” the design and access report states.

“The healthcare hub will provide a modern facility which will offer a wide range of medical facilities and services such as GP, community and mental health, diabetes and respiratory clinics and specialist physiotherapy.

“Over time the improved facilities and increased space to undertake consultations and examinations, will greatly contribute to improvements in the health and well-being of the local population.”

Speaking at a recent health scrutiny meeting, Mr Barker said they were ‘acutely aware’ that Saddleworth would also need a similar new-build centre.

“I’m not entirely convinced that Oldham has got the right level of resource allocation for its needs and its population and complexities,” he said. “And we’re going to need to fight for that and we’re going to need the politicians to get involved with some of that.

“We’re committed to a piece of work on quantifying what the capital ask of services are going to need to be. I’ve just recently been involved in signing off a development in Shaw for a new health facility as well but we’re acutely aware we probably need one in Saddleworth as well and I’m sure there’s other communities that would say ‘we could do with one’.

“We need to get to a place of trying to design a really affordable health and care system that works in a joined up way.” A decision on the plans for the new Shaw health centre is expected by mid-November.

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Manchester Evening News – Oldham