New hospital open to the public

HARWICH'S newly-built community hospital has been officially handed over to the town - and local people are being invited to go and see it for themselves.

By Sharon Asplin

HARWICH'S newly-built community hospital has been officially handed over to the town - and local people are being invited to go and see it for themselves.

The Fryatt Hospital and Mayflower Medical Centre has been completed on schedule and yesterday the keys were handed over to Tendring Primary Care Trust chairman, Brian Davis, by representatives from developers Realise Health Ltd and main contractor MJ Gleeson.

Today and tomorrow are being set aside to accommodate members of the public who would like to have their first look at the £12.3 million state-of-the-art new facility before it becomes operational.

Escorted tours will take place every half hour between 10am and 4pm today and 2pm and 8pm tomorrow.

There will be an opportunity to view the hospital and primary care facilities before the phased transfer of equipment, staff and services begins for the outpatients and inpatients departments, maternity, physiotherapy and minor injuries unit, as well as administrative staff.

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Among the additional healthcare facilities people can look forward to are a theatre which will carry out a range of operations including cataract surgery, an endoscopy suite, a multi-agency group therapy room and an on-site pharmacy. Local patients will also have access to a range of diagnostic services, such as x-rays.

In addition, GPs and health visitors will have a purpose-built base at the hospital and there are plans for a medical library and resource centre for public use, as well as enhanced diagnostic facilities.

Mr Davis said: “It is not very often anyone has the honour and pleasure to receive the keys to a new hospital so this is a very exciting event for everyone interested in local healthcare facilities.

“We are delighted that the construction was completed on time and within budget, just 15 months after building began in September of last year.

“I'm sure lots of people and organisations from the Harwich and Dovercourt area will want to have a look around the hospital. The two open days we have arranged are a perfect opportunity to do so.”

The development of the facility forms part of the first wave of improvements in north east Essex to be carried out and financed under the NHS LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) initiative following a successful joint application to the Department of Health by Tendring and Colchester primary care trusts. Realise Health Ltd has been established to oversee NHS LIFT projects in Tendring and Colchester during the next 20 years.

Some local residents had campaigned unsuccessfully for an accident and emergency department to be included in the project. Other concerns had included selling off part of the land for housing, the loss of the old building - which people in the town were fond of - and the principle of the private finance scheme.

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