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!

Maghull – What news of the long promised and talked about town centre redevelopment?

Well this one has been doing the rounds for years but little has actually happened.

There are two possibilities in the offing one to the north of Westway and one to the south of it.

The northern redevelopment would be in Maghull Square that rather too 1960’s shopping area owned by the Maghull Group. They laid out plans quite a few years ago to give it a facelift and potentially to demolition and rebuild the shop units at the back of the Square. Trouble is the recession intervened and no progress has been made at all. How will the Maghull Group move things on?

The southern redevelopment has gone though so many alternatives and rumours of alternatives that anyone could be forgiven for wondering what if anything will ever happen. Will Morrisons enlarge their too small store or have they given up? Will the NHS deliver the long promised but now seldom talked rebuild of Maghull Health Centre? Remember it was to have an NHS Walk-In facility and the rebuild was supposedly funded/approved at one point a few years back. Are the powers that be in the NHS conveniently forgetting about the assurances that were made by Sefton Primary Care Trust and before them South Sefton Primary Care Trust?

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

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The land for the southern redevelopment is certainly available with the shells of the old Maghull Library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre sitting there awaiting a bid with Sefton Council desperate to sell both to raise some much needed cash. But we also know that the Police want to shut Maghull Police Station so they can move their Neighbourhood Bobbies into a shop unit or something along those lines. The Police land is huge so with the land that Sefton Council owns the opportunities are both real and significant. But what will break the deadlock? London and Cambridge Properties are the other major land owners in between the Council and Police land holdings.

Maghull Police Station - Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside's Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Maghull Police Station – Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside’s Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Were the rumours that Aldi wanted to buy land off the Council correct? You could credibly see Aldi wanting to make such a move as their nearest stores are quite some distance away by the Park Hotel in Netherton, Thornton and in Ormskirk.

I have said before that Morrisons could get caught on the back foot if they are not careful. They need a bigger and better designed store and car park but can they afford to invest/pay more rent? Has anyone ever seen a supermarket car park as badly designed as the one at Morrisons in Maghull? Aldi could well be a big threat to Morrisons if they finally pitch in on a site next door to them.

Things have got to move soon surely!

The photo of the old library and Stafford Moreton Youth Centre is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/