Health centre to go ahead but at what cost?
Plans for a ‘groundbreaking’ health centre in Sandwell, which will help elderly people return home from hospital, needs more money if it is to go ahead.
Members of the borough’s cabinet have agreed to provide more funding for a 80-bed unit on the Knowle site, Harvest Road in Rowley Regis, after construction bids came in over budget.
But council officials failed to reveal how much more the project will cost.
When the centre was given outline planning permission last year it was given a £10 million price tag, but a report to this week’s cabinet said tenders for its building were higher than expected.
Stuart Lackenby, director of adult social care, told the cabinet it will create 100 jobs and enable more people to return home avoiding delayed transfers of care in hospital which causes bed blocking.
Asking the council to provide more finance to allow construction to begin, he added: “Two contractors have applied. The submitted tenders have been reviewed, checked and quality assured however both are above the construction tender budget.”
Accompanying reports described the project as ‘groundbreaking’, adding: “Care and support from the centre will help prevent Sandwell residents having to go into hospital and where that is unavoidable, support them to be discharged quickly and properly from Sandwell, City, Rowley, and Russell’s Hall and other out of borough hospitals.”
The council, which is one of the leading authorities the country for dealing with bed blocking, wants to increase the number of care places available in the borough.
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