Anger over clinic doubts

John Devlin and Joe Gorman at Bellshill Community Health Clinic
John Devlin and Joe Gorman at Bellshill Community Health Clinic

Campaigners are dismayed by a suggestion that a doctors’ practice could find a permanent home in Bellshill Community Health Clinic.

The John Street practice has been based there since a fire destroyed its surgery five years ago.

Plans to to rebuild have not yet materialised and last month the Times & Speaker revealed the original building was not insured at the time of the blaze.

That information was uncovered by Bellshill Community Council members John Devlin and Joe Gorman who suggested it was the reason for the long delay in rebuilding.

Doctors have been treating their patients at the £4.5 million clinic which was supposed to offer a range of health services to the wider community.

Many of these cannot be provided from there just now.

Mr Devlin and Mr Gorman attended last week’s Bellshill and district local area partnership meeting.

Mr Devlin said lack of urgency on the issue was ‘unbelievable’. He added: “We were told by councillors we were acting like dogs with a bone. Well why not?

“We have shown the original building was uninsured. What more can we do? This clinic was supposed to revolutionise health services in Bellshill area.”

Mr Gorman, a former councillor who fought for the clinic to be built, has already accused the doctors of being ‘squatters’.

The doctors insist they have plans and finance in place for a new surgery, but are awaiting the go-ahead from NHS Lanarkshire.

However, Mr Gorman said he was fed up with ‘delaying tactics’ and councillors’ efforts have been ‘non-existent’.

The pair were angry when Councillor Harry McGuigan, convener of the area partnership, suggested health officials might put forward a case for doctors staying in the clinic.

Councillor McGuigan insisted he and colleagues are ‘very anxious to get this sorted’ and said he will be demanding a meeting with NHS Lanarkshire’s new chief executive who is due to be appointed shortly.

He added: “It might well be that people within NHS Lanarkshire will suggest the best plan is for doctors to continue to use the clinic, but that would be unacceptable.

“Services for the wider community were not meant to be squeezed into a corner.”