Health 'shopping list' for Hartismere

A “SHOPPING list” is soon to be drawn up of services which might be provided for a planned new health village on a rural hospital site.Hartismere Hospital at Eye closed for in-patient admissions earlier this year as part of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's (PCT) plans to re-organise health services with greater emphasis on care in the community.

By David Green

A “SHOPPING list” is soon to be drawn up of services which might be provided for a planned new health village on a rural hospital site.

Hartismere Hospital at Eye closed for in-patient admissions earlier this year as part of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's (PCT) plans to re-organise health services with greater emphasis on care in the community.

Long-term plans include the closure of the main hospital building - still used for out-patient services, including physiotherapy - and its sale to the private sector for possible development as a care home.

Out-patient services are in future likely to be located in annex buildings, which include the Gilchrist birthing unit.

While there were fierce protests over the closure of in-patient services, campaigners have formed a community interest company and are now involved in a dialogue with the PCT over the future of the site and the development of a health village.

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The proposed “shopping list” is expected to include diagnostic services and a minor injuries clinic.

David Ecclestone, chairman of the Hartismere Health and Care Community Interest Company, said the PCT had recently agreed to work in partnership with the company.

“This cooperation will develop a list of possible services that might be commissioned by the PCT.

“Hartismere Health and Care remain very ambitious in looking at possible provision, but recognise that the PCT has considerations of affordability and integration into their own overall plan for Suffolk.

“Both parties are also keenly aware that the services chosen must be able to demonstrate viability at the Eye site.”

Mr Ecclestone said Hartismere Health and Care was keen to move forward through the initial planning phase in order that momentum was not lost.

Martin Royal, the PCT's director of business development, said: “We have a positive and developing relationship with the Hartismere Health and Care group with whom we are discussing our future plans for the hospital.

“Our next step is to share the specifications for the first phase of redevelopment. There are already significant similarities between our plans and what the group would like to see happen, which is extremely encouraging.”