Future plans for rural hospital revealed

OFFICIALS have set out their vision for the future of a rural hospital, including the possibility of creating a "health village".The Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust said yesterday – on the eve of an important public meeting - that of all the options considered for the future of Hartismere Hospital at Eye, it preferred the development of a health and social care centre for the whole rural area.

OFFICIALS have set out their vision for the future of a rural hospital, including the possibility of creating a "health village".

The Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust said yesterday - on the eve of an important public meeting - that of all the options considered for the future of Hartismere Hospital at Eye, it preferred the development of a health and social care centre for the whole rural area.

It would become a centre for a range of services and provide a base for staff to deliver more care for people in their own homes.

Under the option, to be put forward at a public meeting at the hospital at 7pm tonight , a private sector company would develop a care home on the site and the NHS would commission any in-patient beds it required.


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"We are changing the way we care by providing more care in people's own homes and are moving away from a bed-based culture to a service-based approach throughout the NHS," said Martin Royal, who is leading a project team for Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts.

Day care treatment and therapy would be provided at the proposed new centre together with more community clinics and more diagnostic facilities, he said.

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The other option to be considered by tonight's meeting is to sell off the remaining part of the hospital site and use the money to completely refurbish the hospital, which would continue to operate as it does now.

Sara Michell , district councillor for villages near Eye, yesterday urged local people to attend the meeting - to show their support for the hospital and put forward their views for its future.

"The hospital has always been very important locally and we need to ensure that it is protected for the future and that if we lose some services, we gain others.

"People don't want to have to travel long distances for basic health care. The hospital is run beautifully but we know there has got to be change of some sort and local residents should take part in the consultation process," she said.

The informal consultation period begins today and is due to continue up to the Central Suffolk PCT board meeting on July 19.

A formal consultation period will then start and last until October 26.

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