Royston Hospital campaigner hopes for support from new health secretary

PUBLISHED: 17:56 30 July 2018

Royston Hospital's future is still unclear as most services are now delivered elsewhere and no future plan has been secured for the site. Picture: Harry Hubbard

Royston Hospital's future is still unclear as most services are now delivered elsewhere and no future plan has been secured for the site. Picture: Harry Hubbard

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Campaigners have said the support of the government’s new health secretary “would be welcomed” in their fight to secure the future of Royston Hospital.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald  joined Maggie Allen to petition in Royston last year.  Picture: RCHNorth East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald joined Maggie Allen to petition in Royston last year. Picture: RCH

Royston’s Maggie Allen is part of social enterprise group Royston Community Health and has been working tirelessly to ensure that hospital site in London Road is turned into a hub for health and social care in the town.

She told the Crow: “There has been some progress although it is slow. Designs have been drawn up to use the current buildings to house the doctors, nurses, physiotherapy, clinics and so on and the six-acre site is big enough for a much needed care home.”

An options appraisal was paid for by the NHS and refined down to four options for developing the hospital or the Melbourn Street health centre in January 2017 – the group says the latter was too small even for current demand.

Thousands of signatures were amassed in support of the hospital site, and in September 2017 RCH met Jeremy Hunt, then the Secretary of State for Health, in a meeting set up by North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, centre, with district councillor Tony Hunter, NE Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, RCH's Maggie Allen, county councillor Fiona Hill and Peter Franks of RCH.Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, centre, with district councillor Tony Hunter, NE Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, RCH's Maggie Allen, county councillor Fiona Hill and Peter Franks of RCH.

Maggie said: “It was a very useful meeting. Knowing that the decision making on these matters lies with the CCG, NHS England and so on, we asked him to give the project the impetus it had lost. He did this and his support has certainly helped us to keep the project live.

“Our MP has promised to raise the issue for us with the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, MP Matt Hancock. While Mr Hancock does not directly make decisions on local issues, his support would be welcomed.”

The next milestone for the group is when the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership discuss the project in the coming weeks.

She said: “In the meantime we have ensured that the key players are aware of the strength of feeling in the community on this matter, that they have the facts and figures to make the right decision. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.”

The hospital site in London Road.The hospital site in London Road.

MP Sir Oliver Heald told the Crow: “I have contacted Matt Hancock and explained about Jeremy Hunt’s past support for a new hub at the Royston Hospital site and asked for his continuing support.”

“Decisions will be made by the CCG and I have been assured that options are still being worked on.”

For more information go to the Facebook page www.facebook.com/Royston-Community-Health-440229109461725 or the website roystoncommunityhealth.org.uk.

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