New health facility moves step close

PLANS to overhaul healthcare in a Suffolk town have taken a further step forward and could be sent to the NHS East of England for approval before Christmas.

James Mortlock

PLANS to overhaul healthcare in a Suffolk town have taken a further step forward and could be sent to the NHS East of England for approval before Christmas.

The draft business case for the long awaited new healthcare “hub” in Sudbury was presented to members of the Sudbury and Locality Community Implementation Reference Group at a meeting last week.

A spokesman said that although some further work had to be done, it was expected the business case would be sent to health chiefs for backing within weeks. After this, NHS Suffolk would start designing the building and begin advertising for a development partner.


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The group, which was set up to advise NHS Suffolk on developing services in Sudbury, also heard that promised changes to x-ray facilities were progressing, with old equipment currently being removed.

New digital equipment, which is being provided and run by West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, had also been ordered, with the revamped service - at Sudbury's St Leonards Hospital -due to go live by February.

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Dr Ann Nicholls, chairman of the reference group - which is made up of members of the community and representatives from health services and councils - said: “The approval by NHS East of England will represent a huge step forwards in the development process for Sudbury and is a strong indicator of the progress we have made to date. Planning for the Sudbury facility has never reached this stage before.

“We are now looking forward to the installation of the new digital x-ray equipment, which means that a wider range of patients, including children, will be able to be x-rayed in Sudbury and will receive their results more quickly.

“We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made so far and look forward to taking the next vital steps forward after Christmas.”

Once work on the new health hub - which will replace the ageing St Leonards and Walnuttree hospitals in the town and the Acton Lane health facility - is complete, it will house outpatient clinics, x-ray and physiotherapy services as well as healthcare teams, which will support patients in their own homes to give them more independence for longer.

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