DELAYS to the opening of a multi-million pound health centre have seen more than 4,000 GP appointments cancelled – and the number is still rising.
Doctors from the North Shore Practice were due to move into the £15m Moor Park Primary Care Centre last week, but problems with the lease meant this was halted at the 11th hour.
Now GPs who had to re-open part of their existing three-surgery site have been further enraged after their move was hit with more delays due to problems with the transfer of computers.
GPs have already demanded an inquiry to find reasons for the delay and say more than 200 staff hours have been spent trying to contact patients.
Partners at the practice say they were assured the move would take place on July 4 and have now been told July 11.
They have branded NHS Blackpool’s handling of the move “insensitive”.
In a statement the partners said: “This delay is mainly the result of poor planning and poor communication between departments of NHS Blackpool which meant IT resources were not arranged in time.
“Comments in the press where the PCT said this was a trivial matter were taken badly by our doctors, nurses and staff.
“It shows insensitivity and a real lack of understanding of the effects of their actions.
“We have had to cancel and rearrange 4,000 appointments which has been a massive undertaking.”
“Some patients are on their fourth appointment cancellation.
“Our hard working staff are working round the clock to ensure care is not affected.”
The Moor Park Development will include the health centre, a sports centre with swimming pool, four badminton courts, a library, fitness suite and aerobics studio.
But the delay is causing confusion. Joanne Butterfield, from Bispham, said: “I’m seven months pregnant and need regular important injections which were scheduled for the week beginning June 20.
“The surgery did not open. My appointment has been rebooked, but I can’t make any other past June 30 as they’re not being taken in case the opening is delayed again.
“I’m sure many others have suffered as well.”
NHS Blackpool said the delay was a “minor” one in a project which has taken five years to come to fruition.
Dr John Calvert, director at NHS Blackpool, said: “The Moor Park Primary Care Centre has three GP practices based within it. All the practices are moving in over three consecutive weekends.
“Glenroyd Practice opened on June 27 as planned and Ashfield Road Practice will open on July 4 as planned.
“Unfortunately, as North Shore Practice was unable to move on the planned date, the next available date for transfer of IT capability was 11 July as this minimised the disruption to the patients of the other practices.
“Moor Park is an excellent facility and the GPs are delighted with the facility.”