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Campaigner for upgraded health centre in Moray believes blueprint could be example for Scotland to follow

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A campaigner fighting for a new health centre in a Moray town believes the development could be the perfect model for other facilities across Scotland.

NHS Grampian has backed work for a replacement hospital and doctor’s practice in Keith to move to the next stage.

Yesterday, Leon Stelmach, chairman of the current health centre’s patient participation group, explained the new build would be the fulfillment of “a dream” for him.

And the campaigner believes a shared hospital, GP practice with space for social workers and local police and ambulance services could set an example for the rest of Scotland to follow.

He said: “While the health and social care teams already work well together, consider how much better it would be in shared premises where they could meet daily in formal and informal ways.

“It would allow quicker and detailed decision processes so that the right people would be in the right place when needed.

“The unique grouping of services, supported by the voluntary sector, would be an example of excellence for other communities to learn from and benefit – and the NHS and Scottish Government would have a model on which to base future developments.”

Patients in Keith have been pressing for upgraded facilities in the town for the last decade.

Mr Stelmach described discussions among health officials as “not so different” from his own vision for the project although stressed they were seeking to “manage expectations”, particularly with the time scale.

Patients at the Keith Health Centre and Turner Memorial Hospital have described the current facilities, which date back to the 19th Century, as outdated.

Moray Council has earmarked a plot of land near the town’s secondary school as a potential site for an upgraded medical centre in its draft local development plan.

NHS Grampian has explained that further work will need to be done before site options can be reported to management.

A spokeswoman said: “Before we can have any discussions regarding land, we need to be clear on developing a sustainable health and social care strategy for the Keith community.

“Once that piece of work is concluded we will be clearer on the size of the building required and consequently the size of the site.

“The Keith Community Council will be fully engaged in the process along with there being public meetings to develop the service solutions.”

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