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Hospital in line for £20m revamp

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:41 01 August 2010

BECCLES Hospital is in line for a major £20m redevelopment that could see it move to a different site, the Journal can reveal.

The much-loved War Memorial Hospital could move to a new site outside the town, or may be rebuilt where it is.

BECCLES hospital is in line for a major £20m redevelopment that could see it move to a different site, the Journal can reveal.

The much-loved War Memorial Hospital could move to a new site outside the town, or may be rebuilt where it is. More details are due to emerge later this year. NHS Yarmouth and Waveney is publishing its five-year-plan later this month, which will be followed by more specific plans for Beccles Hospital in November or December. There had already been plans to move the doctor's surgery on the same site into the hospital, but now it is possible that the whole complex could be moved.

David Matthews, director of finance, said: “We have been developing an outline business case for redevelopment of services in Beccles. It provides care closer to home and is closer to the services in Beccles.

“It has been delayed because we are trying to do a full appraisal of options around Beccles, including a full rebuilding of the hospital site, or rebuilding on a brownfield or greenfield site in Beccles. We have been looking at sites with partners. We have got no preconceived ideas.”

He added: “There are a couple of options on the table, including expanding the criteria for the beds, which could be used for specialist stroke rehabilitation, orthopaedic rehabilitation or social services.”

He added: “We are not planning to close beds or wards in any of our community hospitals, or any plans to look at it.”

The hospital already has an endowment from a legacy which is likely to be put towards the £20m capital costs.

Gordon Knights, chairman of the Friends of Beccles Hospital, said: “I think the PCT have been exploring the alternatives. We would need to know what they are looking at before we can say if it is sensible or not.

“The current site could be redeveloped. It is very central and it has been here since the early 1900s. It is difficult to think where they might replace it. The doctor is there anyway, the health centre is there anyway.

“Generally speaking for the friends' point of view, if it is redeveloped it becomes more important for the area and less open to the whims and fancies and changing ideas of PCTs.

“We would spend money, I have no doubt, on the hospital if it was where it stands now. We would have to see whether we would spend it on where they decide to put it instead, but we probably would.

“At the moment we are spending money on the fittings, but there is a limit to how much we can spend when we don't know what is going to happen.

“We would be unlikely to spend money on bricks and mortar. We are looking forward to some decisions. We have been champing at the bit to hear what is going to happen.”

Chris Scott, who is a patient representative as well as a town councillor and member of the Friends, said: “That land is owned by the hospital and it seems like the ideal site. I had the impression they were probably going to stay where they were.”

Town council clerk Berenice Broom said that the town council was not aware of the plans.

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