BREAKING NEWS: Royston Hospital to close and health centre to be extended

ROYSTON Hospital will be closed next year with a permanent �800,000 extension to the town’s health centre given the go-ahead.

Board members at NHS Hertfordshire today rubber stamped the move which will see the hospital close in November 2013 while a purpose built care home is built for in-patient care.

The new facility will open in 2015 with two years of building scheduled, however the project has not yet gone to tender.

The combined value of the land and the building is �2.7m and it will be sold to a residential nursing home provider in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council in order to return the best value to the NHS.

Any profit made from the sale will be invested in the extended Royston Health Centre, on Melbourn Street.

Outpatient clinics currently located in the hospital see approximately 6,000 patients each year and they will be moved to the health centre, subject to planning approval.

It was originally suggested the extension would be temporary but it will now be permanent, subject to planning permission being granted by North Herts District Council.

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Dr Jane Halpin, chief executive of NHS Hertfordshire said: “During our 12-week consultation we sought the views of patients, the public, councillors and other interested groups and heard a variety of views about what should happen to the hospital and the site.

“We have listened to and considered all ideas presented and have chosen a way forward that will deliver the kind of modern, high quality, flexible and local care that meets the needs of Royston patients and health care staff.

“The option for outpatient services that was overwhelmingly favoured by those who attended our conversation caf� was to move these clinics into the health centre, as it is centrally located in the town with good transport links, is a better environment for providing health services and makes best use of NHS resources.

“Our decision now means we will step up our work with Hertfordshire County Council – who will lead the planning of a new facility – to make sure that Royston gets a modern, fit-for-purpose health and social care unit suitable for many years to come.”

While the new facility is developed a partnership between Quantum Care and the Hertfordshire Community Health Trust will provide interim bed based care.

The League of Friends of Royston Hospital put forward an alternative plan for the current hospital site should accommodate the services while a new facility is built. This was however thrown out.

Royston’s MP Oliver Heald said: “I think it’s good news for the health centre to be extended and it will mean the clinics will be in the town centre.

“It’s also good we will get a new care home but the thing I am worried about is some sort of legacy for Royston.”

The hospital site is also home to Royston Community Transport and the volunteer centre. It is unknown what will happen to them at present.