Fears of fresh hospital delay

NEW concerns have been raised over the future of a much-delayed proposal for a £12million town hospital.Sudbury's county councillor Nick Irwin has expressed "grave" concerns over the future of the town's proposed new 40-bed community health village, after the latest statement issued by the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust.

NEW concerns have been raised over the future of a much-delayed proposal for a £12million town hospital.

Sudbury's county councillor Nick Irwin has expressed "grave" concerns over the future of the town's proposed new 40-bed community health village, after the latest statement issued by the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust.

In a statement to Sudbury Town Council, the trust's chief executive John Parkes said an independent body is to undertake a three-month survey in the town before the plans are reconsidered.

Concerns are also growing after the resignation of a project director and plans being considered to build the hospital in phased stages.


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The regional health authority has already refused to pass the scheme's outline business case until it is happy with the financial position of the Suffolk Primary Care Group, which has a £2million deficit.

Mr Irwin is angry that the hospital, which is due to open in 2005, now faces at least another three

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month delay.

"I am extremely peeved about this. There has been delay after delay and now we have to wait at least another three months before we can move on. We should be further forward than this. The trust know what the people of Sudbury want and need.

"There is now the possibility of phased work - why?. They should just get on with building the new 40-bed hospital with a minor injury unit, like we have been promised."

Despite the latest concerns Mr Parkes says the outlook for the scheme remains positive and denied the use of delaying tactics.

He said: "The Strategic Health Authority still supports the business case but wanted the approach and affordability of the scheme explored in more depth.

"The Health Advisory Service - an independent body - is coming in April to undertake work with local people such as NHS professionals, patients and users of the current service to envisage whether the proposed scheme will meet people's needs."

He said the work would take around three months to complete and the health authority could then reconsider the outline business case.

He added that the trust was looking at ways of possibly developing outpatient and GP referral facilities, prior to the in-patients unit.

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