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Councillors in Burntwood are making a fresh call for a review over the decision to cancel a proposed health centre in the town.
A reorganisation of the NHS saw the scheme – which had been promised in the wake of the closures of Hammerwich Hospital and St Matthew’s – dropped due to a lack of funding.
The centre was scheduled to play host to local GP practices on a site next to the current temporary facility at Burntwood Leisure Centre.
A petition was launched following the decision by NHS England to shelve the project and councillors are now preparing to hand it over to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Burntwood Town Council leader, Cllr Di Evans, said: “Hundreds of residents have signed the petition already and we are asking local people who haven’t already done so to sign it so that we can submit itand show the strength of feeling in Burntwood.
“We hope they will be able to reconsider their decision so we can get the right health facilities for the town.”
A war of words erupted following the initial decision to cancel the scheme with Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant suggesting the scheme may never have been viable in the first place.
However, Burntwood county councillor Sue Woodward said that opportunities were available to sign off the project before April 2013 – the cut-off date for new NHS England projects to go-ahead.
“The withdrawal of funding to our health centre was, in the end, due to the NHS reorganisation,” she said. “However, it seems that there were a number of times just in advance of the reorganisation that opportunities to take the scheme forward were missed.”
Petition sheets are available from the Town Council’s website and can be signed at various locations throughout the town. An online petition has also been created.
Cllr Evans added: “If anyone is holding on to any petition sheets, we would ask that they return them to our office at Lambourne House on Bridge Cross Road by February 27 so we can submit the complete petition.”