Town will get new hospital in two years
By Patrick LowmanHEALTH bosses have pledged a long-awaited multi-million-pound hospital will open doors by 2007 -to the delight of residents who have campaigned for it for the past three decades.
By Patrick Lowman
HEALTH bosses have pledged a long-awaited multi-million-pound hospital will open doors by 2007 -to the delight of residents who have campaigned for it for the past three decades.
Suffolk West Primary Care Trust said work on the new Sudbury health and social care centre would start in March 2006, with the first patients treated there in July 2007.
Tony Ranzetta, the trust's outgoing chief executive, said: “People are now looking to the future and are genuinely excited, as I am, of what the future holds for health services in Sudbury. We will continue to regularly update the people of Sudbury on our progress.”
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Residents have spent the past three decades campaigning for new health facilities to replace Sudbury's ageing St Leonard's and Walnuttree Hospitals.
After lengthy delays - largely due to the trust's multi-million-pound debts - the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority finally approved the plan for the new hospital earlier this year.
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The new £5.4million health complex will consist of two buildings in Churchfield Road, on the edge of the Chilton Industrial Estate.
It will house a 32-bed intermediate care centre for inpatients, a day treatment unit, and a physiotherapy and occupational therapy department.
A second building will include a GP practice, a minor injuries unit, an x-ray suite, a day treatment unit and six outpatient consulting suites.
An out-of-hours unit, mental health consulting rooms and a base for social services and community staff will also be housed on this site.
There will further be land available for an ambulance base, a 50-bed nursing home and a healthy living centre, which will be added to the complex at a later date.
John Sayers, Sudbury mayor, said: “This is excellent news, people in the town have been campaigning for a new hospital for many years and it is great to see that, at last, it is finally going to happen.”
A three-month public consultation has now been launched to gauge patients' opinions on a plan to move the town's Hardwicke House GP surgery, which caters for 25,000 people, to the site of the new hospital.
Mr Ranzetta said: “For most patients, the new facility will provide a better environment for health care, be more accessible for car drivers and it is also proposed to have a bus stop opposite the new centre.
“Patients will be able to see their doctor and, if required, walk along a short corridor to another part of the same centre to have their blood taken, x-ray tests or book in to see their therapist.”
It is hoped contractors for the building work at the hospital will be found by September and an application for full planning permission will be submitted to Babergh District Council in October.