Hospital joy for Suffolk town
HEALTHCARE in Sudbury is set to be revolutionised with the creation of a new £15 million hospital after more than 30 years of campaigning.The Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) finally approved the outline business case for the state-of-the-art hospital at a meeting yesterday.
HEALTHCARE in Sudbury is set to be revolutionised with the creation of a new £15 million hospital after more than 30 years of campaigning.
The Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) finally approved the outline business case for the state-of-the-art hospital at a meeting yesterday.
It will see the new facility, which will provide a huge range of services, built in Churchfield Road and open its doors for in March 2006.
Meanwhile, the town's ageing Walnuttree and St Leonard's Hospitals will be closed as part of the development.
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The news has been met with delight by campaigners in the town, who have long called for the facility.
Paul Kemp, SHA director of performance and finance, told yesterday's meeting that the new facility is vital to the future of healthcare in Sudbury's.
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He said: "This is a very important development. Sudbury is served by a number of health facilities which, to be honest, have seen better days – they do not meet modern standards.
"The plans for the town have gone through a long gestation period and it's great to see that we have finally reached this stage."
The new hospital will have inpatient beds, nursing home places, day treatment services, outpatient clinics, diagnostics, community services and clinics, GP premises and a minor injuries unit.
Costing £1.2 million a year to run, the facility is expected to free up at least 20 beds across West Suffolk, reducing waiting times throughout the current system.
It is hoped the hospital will mark a new age for healthcare in the area, providing 'one-stop' health services and focusing on alternatives to admission, as well as promoting independence.
John Parkes, chief executive of the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, which will oversee the hospital's creation, said: "This is excellent news for the people of Sudbury and surrounding villages.
"We can look forward with confidence to having brand new health and social care facilities in the near future to replace the admirable services being delivered in out of date buildings."
Tony Ranzetta, chief executive of the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, added: "We will be creating much more than a building with beds in it.
"We will be establishing facilities with new ways of working for health and social care services in Sudbury, and spending an additional £1.2 million a year on them.
"It will result in more care being provided in Sudbury, so that fewer people have to travel out of the town to receive services.
"Our plans are for a flexible and forward looking approach that will remain at the leading edge of health and social care provision for many years to come."
Sudbury Town Councillor Sylvia Byham, who has long campaigned for a hospital serving local people, said: "This is wonderful. I am really pleased, because we have been promised this for so long. There has been frustration and anger, as this has been going on for 30 years, but the township has been very patient.
"After a while, nobody believed this would ever happen, but the town deserves it."