Pensioner bids to save hospital site

THE leader of a pensioners' action group is hoping to investigate the history of an Essex hospital to try and preserve it for local healthcare.Braintree's St Michael's Hospital is to be sold off to developers hoping to build flats on the site - generating much-needed funding for the Mid Essex Primary Care Trust.

THE leader of a pensioners' action group is hoping to investigate the history of an Essex hospital to try and preserve it for local healthcare.

Braintree's St Michael's Hospital is to be sold off to developers hoping to build flats on the site - generating much-needed funding for the Mid Essex Primary Care Trust.

A new hospital for the town has been on the cards for several years but plans have recently experienced delays.

Many residents are unhappy at the lack of progress and now the chair of Braintree Pensioners' Action Group said she was looking at a possible avenue to preserve the current hospital site and make it available for the provision of healthcare.


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Phyllis Webb, 77, said she was trying to discover whether the deeds to the site might contain a ruling that would see it returned to public use once it is no longer needed by the NHS, which assumed control nearly 60 years ago.

She said she had been inspired by a television programme about another former NHS hospital. It had been bought from a family and was returned to them under the sale agreement when the hospital closed.

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“I'm wondering if there's anything in the deeds that could be like that for St Michael's,” she said.

“We really are trying to get things done. We know that St Michael's was originally an infirmary at the end of the 18th Century and was previously a workhouse.”

She said she would put the question to a representative from the PCT, who will be attending the group's meeting on Tuesday to discuss healthcare in the town.

She added: “We're one of the fastest growing towns in England. It was a little market town with three hospitals when I moved here 42 years ago”

A PCT spokesman said it was currently reviewing plans for community hospitals proposed for Braintree, Halsted and Maldon that were still being finalised when the PCT merger took place last September.

Last week, the long running fight to get a new community hospital built in the town was taken to Downing Street when Braintree MP Brooks Newmark met with Tony Blair.

Mr Newmark said he was glad the matter had been raised with the Prime Minister, who recognised the importance of the issue, but said he had been “unable to tell him anything” he had not already heard before.

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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