Residents urged to help hospital plan

By Patrick LowmanHEALTH bosses have urged residents to play a vital role to help a proposed £12 million community hospital meet its opening date.Plans for the long-awaited Sudbury community health village suffered a major setback last year when the Norfolk Suffolk and Cambridge Health Authority refused to approve its outline business case on three occasions.

By Patrick Lowman

HEALTH bosses have urged residents to play a vital role to help a proposed £12 million community hospital meet its opening date.

Plans for the long-awaited Sudbury community health village suffered a major setback last year when the Norfolk Suffolk and Cambridge Health Authority refused to approve its outline business case on three occasions.

The authority refused to pass the case because it was unhappy with the financial situation of the then West Suffolk Primary Care Group, which had a £2 million deficit.


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People in Sudbury, who have been campaigning for new health facilities for more than 30 years, feared the setback would mean the new hospital would never be built.

But town residents are now being asked to play a vital role to keep the scheme on track before the West Suffolk Hospitals Trust, which is leading the project, resubmits the business case in July.

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The trust has commissioned the Health and Social Care Advisory Service (HAS) – an independent charity which specialises in developing projects – to carry out a major study to discover how modern health services should be delivered to meet future needs in Sudbury.

During the study residents, patients, carers and health service staff will all have the opportunity to voice their opinions over what facilities are needed at the new facility.

The main event will be a one-day conference on May 15, in which clinicians and practitioners from health and social services, representatives from local authorities and housing, carers and people who use the services will all take part.

HAS will also be running a number of focus group discussions with stakeholders including GPs, therapists, nurses and health service users.

It is hoped the study will help the West Suffolk Hospitals Trust prepare a water-tight business case that will be approved in July, keeping the hospital on course for its 2005 opening date.

HAS chief executive Hilary Rowland said: "We believe it is essential that projects are developed from the perspective of the people who receive health services and those who work in them.

"Our task is to find out what local people want from their local health and social care services and then propose how these can be met in an affordable way."

An eight-acre site for the new hospital, adjacent to Churchfield Road and Waldingfield Road, was purchased last summer and outline planning consent has been granted for the development.

Among the facilities proposed for the hospital are 40 in-patient beds, a 15-place day hospital, outpatient facilities designed to cope with 12,000 attendances a year, a community mental health team base, community clinics for children and adults, dentistry and diagnostic and x-ray facilities.

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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