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Plug pulled on multi-million pound Staffordshire health centre

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A multi-million pound health centre planned for a town will no longer be built due to NHS budget pressures.

The news comes just weeks after a campaign to secure the building of the new centre in Burntwood was stepped up.

Campaigners today described the announcement as a 'terrible blow.'

Work on the complex should have got under way last year after plans were agreed in 2011.

But the town was left in limbo over the planned GP and nursing complex following the restructure of the NHS.

Now it has been revealed the plans have been scrapped altogether.

Bosses from NHS England sent an email to Lichfield District Council to tell them that the plans had been axed due to the current difficult financial situation.

Chase Terrace Councillor Sue Woodward said: "This is a terrible blow for Burntwood and I'm stunned at the news.

"The local area does not have adequate health care facilities and the plans for a new facility on the leisure centre site would have provided exactly what the town needs.

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"Since the closure of two local hospitals, we've had repeated assurances from the NHS that they will provide new facilities to compensate for their loss.

"To be told now, and at this late stage, that they cannot fund this vital development that has been in the pipeline for many years, is devastating and is a direct consequence of last year's NHS reorganisation, the scale of which was unexpected and contrary to government pledges to support front-line services.

"I am committed to working alongside partners to campaign to ensure adequate health care is provided in Burntwood and to determine what will happen to the current temporary centre."

The centre was due to be built in the grounds of Burntwood Leisure Centre and would have served 22,000 patients.

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St Matthews Hospital in Burntwood and Hammerwich Hospital have both closed in recent years.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, the leader of Lichfield District Council, added: "Whilst we of course understand the budgetary pressures faced by the NHS, this is incredibly disappointing news for the residents of Burntwood.

"Along with local ward councillors and the town council, we have been campaigning for a new health centre on the leisure centre site for many years."

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