by Ken Bennett
A brand new medical surgery, which has laid idle for months, could open within days, thanks to intervention of the Oldham Chronicle and the Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership (DP).
Five thousand patients in Delph and surrounding villages were shocked when they discovered the multi-million pound facility could remain closed until next January.
The problems, revealed at the DP meeting, centred round the installation of vital telephone and IT cables by BT. The Chronicle contacted the communications giant who, in response, sent a team to Gartside Street to install a temporary cable ahead of a letter from the DP expressing concerns about the delays.
A BT spokesman speaking on behalf of Openreach, said, “Now we have installled the temporary line for the surgery it is ready to open. We understand from the NHS this may happen as early as next week. We have sorted the road closure with the help of Oldham Council and the work to put in the permanent line has been scheduled for Sunday, November 2.”
Val Sedgwick, the DP’s chair, took expert advice from OMBC whose officials said there were no specific restrictions that applied to the closure of Gartside Street while BT completed their work. In her letter to BT she said the new health centre was completed in July but problems of opening focussed around the lack of cabling. She asked for the situation to be resolved quickly before the weather deteriorated as patients from outlying areas would have to trek to Saddleworth Medical Practice’s in Uppermill. Her letter added, “January is not the best time to dig up a road and lay cables in this part of the country.”
The BT spokesman said, “We would like to thank people in Delph for their patience while these final links are finished and we would like to thank the health partnership and the NHS people who have worked so hard to open this vital service. BT and Openreach will continue to ensure the services at Delph are properly supported in future. The delays are regrettable but we are committed to providing an improved service.”
Oldham council have confirmed that BT will carry out the work on Sunday, November 2.
A spokesman for the The NHS North West Commissioning Support Unit, who manages the delivery of IT and telecommunications on behalf of the practice said, “A short-term solution has now been put in place by BT, and, although we have some further work to do on Thursday and Friday, we are now confident the practice will be in a position to open after this week. However, we are still working with BT to ensure that a fully robust solution is put in place as soon as possible to guarantee resilience at the practice.”
Oldham council confirmed BT will carry out the work on Sunday, November 2.