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Cash from Halesworth and Southwold hospital sales ‘should be invested in healthcare’

PUBLISHED: 17:19 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:24 10 July 2017

Southwold Hospital closed down back in 2015. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Southwold Hospital closed down back in 2015. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is calling on the Government to intervene and ensure that money from the sale of Southwold Community Hospital and the Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth is used locally.

MP Therese CoffeyMP Therese Coffey

She has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, concerning the deals that could come about following the recent Naylor Review, which Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she is formally accepting.

The review states that any sale receipts from locally owned assets will not be recovered centrally, provided the disposal is in agreement with the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Dr Coffey said: “The recent Naylor review gives us an opportunity to again press the case that the money from the sale of our two community hospitals is re-invested locally.

“The Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG ‘Shape the System’ plan promised that NHS nursing beds in local care homes would be provided instead of keeping the two hospitals open because it was clinically sound to do so.

The Patrick Stead Hospital, Halesworth. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Patrick Stead Hospital, Halesworth. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“Despite the need for capital to be invested into this plan, there has been no previous guarantee that the money from the sale of the hospitals would be re-invested in local healthcare but the Naylor Review suggests that guarantee should be made.

“I have written to the Health Secretary to ask him to intervene directly on this matter to support the ‘Shape of the System’ plan and to realise the recommendation set out in the review.”

Campaigners hope that both hospital buildings can be kept for community projects.

Save Our Southwold (SOS) has launched a “Community Shares” scheme and is also looking at various options for the site after being asked to increase its offer for the property.

The group wants to buy and develop the hospital – which closed in December 2015 – to provide a business and digital tech hub, library expansion and farm-to-fork café, along with affordable homes.

Meanwhile, Halesworth Town Council is exploring – with advice from SOS – whether to apply to make the Patrick Stead a community asset to provide a six-month window for options to be explored and a business case to be drawn up.

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