Portadown’s £16.5m health centre – opened in 2010 – is still experiencing teething problems over heating, top staff have told the Portadown Times.
During the long, hot summer past, temperatures rose above the maximum recommended 30 degrees, one staff member claimed. And in the winter, the interior can get “particularly cold”, the doctor added.
“It’s difficult for staff and patients to concentrate on the job in hand,” said the staff member.
“There have been problems from the start, with the lack of air conditioning a major drawback. They have installed a more modern concept, with eco-friendly principles and energy saving to the fore. But for practical purposes, air conditioning would have been a better option.”
The building was lauded as “eco-friendly and energy saving” with a computerised system favoured over air conditioning, and this has caused many “teething problems”. But it won the award for ‘Best Future Design Concept’, at the Rewarding Excellence in Healthcare Design Awards in 2006 during the planning stages.
The centre, which opened in March 2010, provides all services which were available in the totally inadequate old health centre, including the GP practices but with additional services including x-ray, orthopaedics, dental and rehabilitation services.
Meanwhile, a manager within the centre – David Thompson of the Waterside Practice – has insisted that the Southern Health Board is dealing with the heating issues, one by one, “in a superb health centre that is the epitome of excellent care and accommodation compared to the one it replaced, which was down right unhealthy and it’s good riddance”.
A main problem is that the south-facing windows were opened and closed via computer, according to the temperatures. But they are facing the car parks and the accompanying noise made diagnosis in the clinics difficult, especially in monitoring. That computer system is unsuitable, the staff member claimed.
“But this is being addressed,” said Mr Thompson. “Yes, there were issues of low temperatures during the first winter we operated, which was particularly cold. But these have been addressed by double doors and other innovations.
“The building is modern and innovative, and new policies invariably have problems, but they are being sorted out one by one. The past summer was particularly hot, and the board knows the issues and continues working to resolve them. It’s a wonderful health centre, especially when compared to the one it replaced.”