NHS GP Services in Sefton’s East Parishes – It’s been a roller coaster of a journey with few ups and too many downs

The recent talk and publicity in the Aintree & Maghull Champion made me think back to the many disappointments and frustrations we have had in trying to improve the NHS primary care facilities in Sefton’s East Parishes.

Sefton’s eastern parishes cover Melling, Aintree Village, Maghull, Lydiate and part of Sefton Parish and in all my many years as a councillor rarely have there been many positives with regard enhancing local GP/primary care facilities/services.

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The one really big and bright exception was the building and opening of the new GP premises in Oriel Drive, Aintree Village in 2012 after considerable campaigning by Aintree Village Parish Council, The Aintree Park Practice and the then Borough Councillors for Aintree.

July 2012 at the formal opening of the new GP Surgery

July 2012 at the formal opening of the new GP Surgery

But just look at the other miss-steps or missed opportunities:-

Lydiate Village Centre – opened in 2010 – this was originally to include GP facilities but the then Primary Care Trust backed out. Lydiate does not have a GP practice at all.

Meadows Leisure Centre (Maghull) – also opened in 2010 – was also meant to have GP provision within it. Indeed, the idea was for the GP’s to be able to refer appropriate patients directly to the Leisure Centre’s gym for fitness and rehabilitation/recovery purposes. Sadly the then Primary Care Trust backed out of that project too.

Maghull Health Centre was down to be rebuilt some years ago and councillors were told that the money/authority had been obtained for that to be done. That was as I say some years ago but nothing has happened to date.

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What’s more the then Lib Dem Borough Councillors for the 3 East Parishes Wards pressed for and gained a commitment that NHS Walk-In facilities would be provided within a rebuilt Maghull Health Centre, as the nearest one in Litherland is hardly easily accessible. This we were told was given the green light but when it went public health officials said they were not now going to do it!

Melling’s GP surgery was relocated to Kirkby in Knowsley Borough not so long ago, causing great concern to the village residents.

The GP practice on the Parkhaven Trust site in Maghull needs to relocate, so are told, and this is causing all kinds of concerns as to where it will go to. The same GP practice has had its problems in recent times and originally it had been down to be run by a big private company (possibly American) under the last Labour Government’s NHS privatisation plans promoted by Tony Blair and, I think, Andy Burnham. That idea was fought off by local campaigners.

All in all it’s fair to say that folks in the East Parishes communities just want high quality GP services, a locally accessible NHS Walk-In facility and as many medical tests done locally as possible rather than having to get to the very busy Fazakerley Hospital. Not much to ask for and much of it previously possible/promised but then backed out of by NHS officials.

I am sure that the numerous NHS re-organisations by all colours of Government have not helped over the past 20 years or so but the bottom line is little has moved forward and many problems persist with primary care NHS facilities in Sefton’s East Parishes.

Please no more promises, just deliver!

Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6wLVQPDxYc&feature=youtu.be“>www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6wLVQPDxYc&feature=youtu.be

I thought I would share this Canal & River Trust video (accessible via the link above) with readers as it is both informative and well put together.

Two red and white  narrow boats in Lydiate approaching Bells Lane swing bridge heading northwards.

Two red and white narrow boats in Lydiate approaching Bells Lane swing bridge heading northwards.

I have posted previously about the celebrations being planed in the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough and will let readers have more information about them as things develop.

The photo above is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Aintree Station – The transformation from Victorian splendor to modern concrete and steel

Aintree Station does not look much these days; it could be anywhere. Only the horse in the modern brickwork (see first photo) is a nod to what was once a grand station of great importance.

Horse - Aintree Station r

Now an old black and white shot of the station in its hey day, which I purchased not so long ago:-

Aintree Station then - Undated

Click on this photo to enlarge it

On to some more shots of the station as it is now. Be prepared to be disappointed:-

Aintree Station now 1 r

Aintree Station now 2 r

The questions that arise from these photos are:-

Why did Aintree lose its wonderful glass roof with its cast iron supporting columns?

How can a station like Maghull (two stops down the line to Ormskirk) be very much as it was back in Victorian days whilst being modernised in a sympathetic way but Aintree lost everything?

Aintree is no longer a ‘big’ junction station yet why was it not downsized whilst keeping its historic splendor?

I suspect that generations of owners – BR, Railtrack and Network Rail – have not been good guardians of the property and bit by bit it slipped into decay until it got to the point where it needed an almost complete rebuild in an unfortunate modern way.

My previous posting about the station of last month (May 2015) is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/05/19/aintree-station-the-disused-linesplatforms/

The 4 photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Aintree Station – the disused lines/platforms

Disused r

Behind the Ormskirk bound platform of Aintree Station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line. The tracks were probably last used for a freight connection with the Metal Box Company whose factory was nearby. Prior to that they would have been used, together with two additional platforms, for Grand National trains etc. This once great station is now sadly a concrete and steel one that could pop up anywhere on the rail network.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Maghull – Morrisons/Health Centre/Old Library/Former Youth Centre – What’s going on?

Ever since Morrisons took over their Maghull store from the former Somerfield there has been talk of the store needing to be enlarged. It is clearly far too small.

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At one point a complicated but positive plan was put together involving the NHS who own the adjoining Health Centre, London and Cambridge Properties who own the land on which Morrisons sits (together with the other shops on the southern side of Westway) and the associated car park. The plan also included land that Sefton Council owned and in fact still owns. The land in question being that of the former Maghull Library (which moved to Meadows Leisure Centre in 2010) and that of the former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre.

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The plan was to redevelop the Health Centre which the NHS had authorised at a high level I was told by senior NHS and Sefton Council officers. Sadly, the NHS then backed out, why has never really been explained and Maghull residents with longish memories will recall us Lib Dems pressing at every turn for the new Health Centre to have an NHS Walk-In facility within it. Our contention is that Sefton Primary Care Trust (now abolished under NHS reorganisation) had undertaken to do all it could to provide an NHS Walk-In facility in Maghull after the one at Litherland Town Hall had opened. Of course it has never happened but then again the building it was supposed to be in was never rebuilt. Maghull and district residents have every right to feel aggrieved about this as Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In Centre is simply not accessible from the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough by public transport.

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

So the NHS element of the plan went west so to speak, but what of the rest of it. Surely Morrisions still needed a bigger Maghull store? Surely cash-strapped Sefton still wanted to dispose of the land it owned to bring some money in? Well you would have thought so in both cases but nothing has happened and all this has been going on for years and years. Indeed, it costs Sefton Council money each year to keep its two old buildings secure and safe.

Does it all come down to London and Cambridge Properties and Morrisons? What is the problem? Maghull & District needs a better range of food retailers. Just think about it in terms of the major UK food retailers (I appreciate that there are a number of excellent local convenience stores) this is all that there are in the East Parishes:-

Lydiate – None at all!
Maghull – A small Morrisons, Lidl, Iceland, a small Co-op
Aintree Village – A Tesco Metro, an M&S Food and a huge ASDA
Melling – None at all!

I was told quite some time ago that Aldi were actively looking for a site in Maghull and my strong suspicion was that they were looking at the old library/youth club site, but so far that has seemingly come to nothing.

What strikes me is that if Morrisons does not make a decisive move and sort out their long-term future in Maghull they are likely to end up with a competitor right on their doorstep as surely Sefton Council will not sit on its land for ever.

By the way I have written to Morrison twice asking them where their planning is up to but answers comes there none so far.

But could there be an other option on the table – one that has been the subject of considerable rumour in recent times? Read my posting next Wednesday involving the ‘The Old Bill’.

Narrow Boats, barges, maintenace boats and cruisers – All seen in Lydiate

Lydiate is blessed with having the Leeds Liverpool Canal flowing through it as indeed are the other Sefton Borough communities of Melling, Maghull, Aintree Village, Netherton, Litherland and Bootle. Lydiate is also the home, as I have posted before, of the Mersey Motor Boat Club.

A walk along the length of the canal through Lydiate can bring forth all kinds of sights and sounds of canal boating. Narrow boats, barges, maintenance boats, cruisers etc. All these shots were taken on the same day in May 2014:-

A canal barge – wide in comparison with a narrow boat:-

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Narrow Boats aplenty:-

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A short narrow boat

A short narrow boat

A medium length narrow boat

A medium length narrow boat

Maintenance Barge

Maintenance Barge

A Canal Cruiser

A Canal Cruiser

Some of these photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/