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Victorian hospital set for £1.5m upgrade

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:20 16 September 2010

A Victorian hospital is set to be brought into the 21st century after health chiefs announced a £1.5m refurbishment plan.

Officials from NHS Suffolk unveiled proposals for a redevelopment of the Hartismere Hospital site, in Eye, three years ago.

A Victorian hospital is set to be brought into the 21st century after health chiefs announced a £1.5m refurbishment plan.

Officials from NHS Suffolk unveiled proposals for a redevelopment of the Hartismere Hospital site, in Eye, three years ago.

But bosses, who had been drawing up £6m plans including a new health facility off Castleton Way, said they had downgraded the scheme and would instead focus on renovating the 19th century building to meet modern needs.

The refurbished hospital is set to house a mixture of community and outpatient services, including podiatry, health visiting, mental health, diagnostics, rehabilitation, retinal screening and sexual health clinic.

Some 10 “stepping stone” beds will continue to be commissioned at Paddock House to support local older people to remain in their community and avoid a stay in an acute hospital.

Officials from NHS Suffolk added that some surplus land will be sold off to a nursing home provider and the rest for housing, which will help fund improvements to other health facilities in the county.

Mark Marshall, NHS Suffolk's head of corporate development and infrastructure, said the work would take 18 months and give Hartismere Hospital a new lease of life.

“Continuing with our plans - albeit in a different and slightly more modest way - means that we can still provide improved care environments for the staff and visitors to the hospital. We are committed to making sure that services remain the same high quality as they are now,” he said.

Elizabeth Gibson-Harries, chairman of the Eye Locality Group, which involves healthcare providers, patients and local residents, said Hartismere would become a modern day cottage hospital.

“People do not have to travel to major hospitals for something minor and it makes people feel that their community is valued. People are very fond of Hartismere Hospital and it has been part of the landscape for a long time. Many people have been there or visited people there and are happy that the old facade will be staying.”

“It is Victorian, but it is structurally sound and internally it needs updating and an improved layout, but there is still scope for additional buildings,” she said.

An open day will take place at Hartismere Hospital between 2pm and 6.30pm on September 3 to show off the plans to the public.

It is not yet known who will take over responsibility for the building when primary care trusts are set to be abolished in 2013 as part of the coalition government's overhaul of the NHS.


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