Plans to sell part of hospital

A LARGE part of Essex County Hospital in Colchester is set to be sold off and the majority of its services transferred to another site, it has been agreed.

A LARGE part of Essex County Hospital in Colchester is set to be sold off and the majority of its services transferred to another site, it has been agreed.

The move would see acute services at the County Hospital - parts of which date back to pre-Victorian times - transferred to the Colchester General Hospital in Turner Road.

The decision was taken yesterday at a meeting of the board of directors of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT), which runs both hospitals.

They stopped short of deciding to close the entire Lexden Road site, and instead agreed to keep outpatient clinics there, along with the diagnostic services that support them.


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It is estimated that the “book” value of the hospital land itself is around �3million, while the face value of the buildings would be around �10m.

However, due to the layout and specialist usage of the buildings, that figure could work out significantly lower on the open market. Proceeds from the sale would be invested in patient services.

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Before the transfer can take place, the trust will work with its staff on developing a detailed business case, which will need to be approved by the board of directors.

Speaking after the meeting on Thursday, CHUFT chief executive Peter Murphy said Essex County Hospital had served the people of Colchester and north east Essex “magnificently” for almost two centuries.

He added: “However, the site is now so congested that it could not cope with additional activity or a major development programme.

“It has been the strategy of the Trust for well over a decade to centralise acute services, which will result in significant clinical benefits, but it is only now that we have the financial freedom as an NHS foundation trust that we're in a position to execute this strategy.

“The transfer of services would take place over a three-year period and during that time the trust would continue to invest in Essex County Hospital rather than 'run it down' in any way.”

Some of the acute services will be transferred into accommodation at Colchester General Hospital which will be freed up when work on a �20m two-storey development is completed there in the autumn.

Besides cancer services, other clinical services currently based at Essex County Hospital include dental services, breast screening, ophthalmology, audiology, ENT, dermatology and genito-urinary medicine.

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