The County You Live, Work And Play
Houldsworth Centre Branded A Shambles
Patients this week blasted the new £23m health centre and branded it “a waste of money” and a “shambles”.
OAP Alexander Smith raised concerns about children’s safety after he watched youngsters trying to climb up the balconies at the centre’s atrium.
And a string of complaints have been raised with a local newspaper only a fortnight after the Houldsworth Centre in Kenilworth Avenue, Wishaw, opened, including:
Elevators breaking down and the size of the lifts
Screens to notify patients about appointments were not working, leading to longer waiting times
Lack of available parking
Inadequate access for disabled people
Dangers for children climbing up balconies
Wishaw MSP John Pentland expressed his disappointment at the centre and is in talks with the NHS and the council over the concerns raised.
He said, “It is very disappointing that this much-needed new facility should be hit by problems."
“Constituents have been in touch about the lifts and other related issues and I have already taken them up with the NHS and the council.
“I hope these matters can be resolved quickly so that the public can get the full benefit of the new centre.”
The state-of-the-art building replaced the rundown Wishaw Health Centre.
The new facility boasts a range of health services including GP and dental practices, podiatry, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, all community treatment room activity, mental health, phlebotomy, public health nurses and long-term condition nurses.
It also integrates council services such as a library, a First Stop Shop for council issues, a housing shop, a cafe and health services.
The First Stop Shop, municipal bank and library are all located together in an open plan area, with private interview rooms available as well as a meeting room with projector and smart board.
But the new facility has not impressed many people, including Alexander Smith.
The 72-year-old said: “There are so many people who have an issue with it.
“I wouldn’t moan for the sake of it but there are a lot of problems with it, such as the lifts not working.
“They aren’t very big as well and if people have to walk up two flights of stairs to be treated then that’s not good for anyone.
“The screens they have for appointments weren’t working when I was there so that will add to the waiting times.
“When I was there I watched some kids trying to climb the balconies and if they managed to do it it’s a big fall into the atrium.
“I know it’s early so hopefully these things can be dealt with quickly.”
Taxi driver John Malone, from Wishaw, hit out at the lack of accessibility for disabled people.
He said: “It’s shocking that the taxi rank is to the side of the building and people in wheelchairs only have one spot where they can cross the road due to the lack of ramps.
“If the lifts don’t work as well then that makes it worse. You’d expect more from a building which cost so much.”
The concerns raised are currently being investigated by NHS Lanarkshire and North Lanarkshire council have announced they will be demolishing the old health centre to make space for a two-storey car park, which will open in 2016.
NHS Lanarkshire’s head of management services Graham Johnston said: “The new Houldsworth Centre provides an excellent environment for health and council services which are jointly hosted in a centrally located site.
“The new state-of-the-art facility opened to the public on August 17 and, as with any new development of this size, teething issues can and do arise.
“We identified an issue with the public lifts soon after the building opened which was caused by a faulty piece of equipment. A replacement part was identified, delivered and installed within two days of the fault emerging.
“In relation to car parking, a new multi-storey car park is being constructed on the site of the former Wishaw Health Centre and is expected to be open in March 2016.
“The new car park will provide 190 spaces, which will be in addition to the 42 spaces already available at the Houldsworth Centre.
“Other public car parking is also currently available around the town centre, with almost 670 spaces available.
“The new patient-call system, used by GPs to inform patients of an appointment, is currently being configured and is due to be in operation shortly.”