A top Tory has doubled down on his criticism of part of the NHS – describing them as “an absolute nightmare to deal with”.
We previously reported how Cllr Adrian Gulvin had lambasted NHS Property Services during the council’s annual budget meeting, saying: “I’ll be quite blunt, I’ve never met such a bunch of incompetent idiots, they are just beyond the pale.”
He was speaking about dealings with the organisation over a new £10.3 million healthy living centre at the Pentagon centre in Chatham.
However, during his speech he misspoke when saying NHS Property Services had also been involved in a project in Gillingham to deliver a mental health hub at the former Britton Farm mall.
The health body contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service to point out Cllr Gulvin’s mistake and say it was Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust which was responsible.
Speaking on Wednesday, the councillor acknowledge he was wrong about that project but stood by his criticism based on how discussions for the Pentagon had gone.
He revealed the project had been over two years in the making with NHS Property Services suggesting a new facility in Clover Street or at St John’s Church in Railway Street.
After the council suggested a location within the Pentagon, the organisation agreed to give them the majority of the funding if the authority would do the initial design work
However, Cllr Gulvin, who is portfolio holder for resources, explained: “It’s not going to happen that way now, the council is going to have to fund it hence the leader put the £10 million in the budget.
“It has been so frustrating. We desperately need a decent health facility for the centre of Chatham, it’s long overdue and it’s getting even more important now because we’re increasing the amount of people that live in the centre of Chatham.
“I will stick by [what I previously said], they are an absolute nightmare to deal with.
“I mean, we’ve been working for two and a half years on this project and we’re still not anywhere near getting the whole thing sorted.
“When it comes to the NHS boys and girls on the front line over the last couple years, I’ve got nothing but admiration.
“But some of the bureaucracy that’s supposed to be there supporting and helping them is not very good to say the least.”
Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) told councillors the £10.3m will initially be met from borrowing while the authority waits for grant funding from the NHS.
The healthy living centre will eventually move into the space on the centre’s first floor previously occupied by stores including D&A toys and the WREC Room.
NHS Property Services declined to directly address Walderslade representative’s critical comments.
A spokesman said: “NHS Property Services and NHS Kent & Medway ICS have confirmed they are in discussions with Medway Council in respect of a potential new health development in Chatham that would be funded by the NHS.
“If approved, the proposed development would be a significant project which would benefit both the patients and residents of Medway.”