Green light for new hospital
A LONG awaited new hospital could be open within two years after health bosses gave the multi-million pound project the thumbs up.Members of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority have approved the business case for the new Sudbury Health and Social Care Centre that has been designed to revolutionise care facilities in the town.
A LONG awaited new hospital could be open within two years after health bosses gave the multi-million pound project the thumbs up.
Members of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority have approved the business case for the new Sudbury Health and Social Care Centre that has been designed to revolutionise care facilities in the town.
Work on the centre is expected to start later this year and it is thought that the facility will open its doors by the end of 2007.
Speaking at a meeting of the authority yesterday, chairman Stewart Francis said: “We have all read the reports and the board is happy to accept the recommendations which will see improved health care across the region.”
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The decision has brought a successful end to a 30-year campaign for new health facilities in the town to replace the ageing Walnuttree and St Leonard's hospitals.
The revised plan includes a £5.8million 32-bed intermediate care centre that will incorporate inpatient and day treatment facilities for physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
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A second centre will include a GP practice run by doctors from the town's Hardwicke House practice, a minor injuries unit, an x-ray suite, an outpatient consultancy suite, an out of hours unit mental health facilities and a base for social workers and community staff.
The new state of the art complex will be built on Churchfield Road off the Chilton Industrial Estate.
Land will be left available for an ambulance base, a 50-bed nursing home and a healthy living centre which are planned in future years.
The scheme was originally due to be approved in 2002 and open this year but the health authority refused to approve the plan on several occasions due to the trust's multi-million pound debts.
Last night, Sudbury Mayor John Sayers said: "The matter has dragged on and on and there was a time when people in the town started to wonder whether it was ever going to happen, but this is like a breath of fresh air and I am absolutely thrilled."
Sylvia Byham, town councillor and long term hospital campaigner, said: "This is fantastic news for the town and we are finally going to get what we deserve.
"There have been so many difficulties over this but everyone is now very excited about the future if Sudbury, and I am over the moon."
Suffolk South MP Tim Yeo added: "I am absolutely delighted that this has been given the go-ahead, and I am very glad the trust has finally seen sense.
"This is what we have all been hoping for and it is great news for the town. A lot of people have campaigned very hard for this and it should be celebrated."
An update on the business case for the new scheme will be put before the board of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority at its next meeting in May.