Haverhill Town Council to express disgust at NHS Suffolk’s ‘lies’

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A letter will be written by Haverhill Town Council to NHS Suffolk after it accused the health body of ‘telling a lie’ and ‘taking the piss’.

A letter will be written by Haverhill Town Council to NHS Suffolk after it accused the health body of ‘telling a lie’ and ‘taking the piss’.

Councillors expressed disgust at last Tuesday’s (30) meeting at the arts centre that the NHS is now seeking permission to use the Crown Health Care site into March, despite insisting it would not get planning permission to retain the Crown beyond December 4.

Cllr Clive Turner said: “The entire town was misled and it’s taxpayers who are paying for this for this, a body supplying public health care with public money that is taking the piss.”

He suggested they write to both the NHS and to the planning department of St Edmundsbury Council to ‘express our outrage that they can so openly be unashamed of their behaviour’.

Cllr Brian Hawes said the health baord had been ‘disingenuous’, adding: “I was so disappointed they came back and asked for that (permission) after all of the things they said and all of the work we put in, but we have to work with these people going forward.

“It’s a backhanded way of doing things and they have not been straight with us.

“I run out of words for my lack of admiration for the way they operate.”

Cllr Maureen Byrne also panned the health board and said they treat Haverhill ‘with contempt’.

“What infuriates me is the dishonesty of it all.

“They treat us with contempt and think they can do whatever they like because it’s Haverhill – I don’t think they would be doing this if it were Bury St Edmunds.

“We do have to work with these people but they are not working with us.

“We need to write some sort of open letter not dilly dallying but saying they are liars and they are dishonest and we are not going to put up with it for much longer.

Cllr Byrne, who is also on the borough council, said she would support allowing the NHS to use the building until March.

“We can’t oppose the plans as the people who use the centre are the same ones who came to us the morning the Crown was closing with ulcerated legs that were treated daily and were worried about what they would do.

“That facility is now being provided and I hope it continues when the clinic re-opens.”

Town mayor Pat Hanlon said: “They were scraping the barrel and trying to find excuses to close it and they thought there was a loophole so they could close it.

“As far as I’m concerned they told a lie.”

Cllr Hawes said the health group recently formed at the behest of the town council to address the health needs of Haverhill and collaborate with the new clinical commissioning group (CCG) needed to involve more patient groups and GPs.

Cllr Byrne asked for her concerns about Care UK – reported in last week’s Echo – to be included as part of the health group’s concerns.

The council agreed for town clerk Will Austin to ‘produce a strongly worded letter with the support of the town council’.

The Crown Health Centre was closed by NHS Suffolk in July having failed to find a permanent location.

NHS Suffolk said one reason for the closure was that St Edmundsbury Borough Council had ‘clearly stated’ planning permission would not be extended beyond December 4.

One of the council’s conditions of approving the original application in 2008 was that the building be removed by December 4 ‘unless planning permission is renewed’.

Now NHS Suffolk is seeking planning permission to use the building into March, as it is currently being used as a temporary base while refurbishment work is being done at Haverhill Health Clinic in Camps Road.

A NHS spokesman said: “Haverhill Health Centre, which houses physiotherapy, podiatry clinics, health visitors and district nurse services, needs to be refurbished for safety reasons.

“The application for planning permission means some staff and patient services from the Haverhill Health Centre can be temporarily relocated for a limited period of three months to the former Crown Health Centre pods.

“Without this permission the refurbishment work would take longer and cause greater disruption and inconvenience to patients and staff.

“This relocation of some staff and services is for the very short term.

“Planning permission for the permanent siting of the pods would not have been granted by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, a situation the authority made clear to NHS Suffolk.

“Once the work at the Haverhill Health Centre is complete, patients will experience a health care facility fit for the 21st century.”

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (NOvember 15) Echo.