Funding is finally in the bag to draft up Royston Hospital options after major setbacks

Sir Oliver Heald called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene.

Sir Oliver Heald called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene. - Credit: Archant

After putting pressure on the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to get the ball rolling, North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald confirmed this week that funding has been put in place to draw up a business case for the future of the Royston Hospital site.

The approval of a grant through the government’s primary care infrastructure fund for the options appraisal has been long awaited – the decision has twice been delayed but Sir Oliver says a personal appeal to Mr Hunt may have helped to get things moving.

He believes it’s a positive step forward in determining the future of health care in Royston and gets the town one step closer to getting an NHS community and social health care hub. He said: “I am delighted at this step forward and would like to thank Jeremy Hunt for his personal interest, as well as offer my congratulations to the local team led by Dr John Hedges.”

Mr Hunt said he was keen to learn more about the scheme from Sir Oliver.

He said: “I am delighted to hear that the options appraisal for the Royston NHS and Social Care Hub has been given the green light by NHS England.

“These projects have great potential to deliver improved outcomes for local residents.

“I was also keen to learn more from Sir Oliver about this particular scheme, which has such strong support locally.”

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Maggie Allen from Royston Community Health said: “It was essential that NHS England agreed to the options appraisal and outline business plan which the CCG are funding. Recently they refused to agree to it and CATCH and the CCG and others have pushed hard to make this happen. We were told the good news at the end of last week and the options will now all be examined. This is the next step in the process, it has to happen before we can go any further so this is welcome news.

“Royston Community Health members will be highly involved in the process and will represent the views expressed by the community in our survey.”

Chris Cowsley from Royston Hospital Action Group said: “This is a small but welcome step forward after a heart-stopping suggestion that NHS England were less than lukewarm about appraising the options for health and social care in Royston.

“A great deal of valuable work has been done by our local GPs, the Clinical Commissioning Group and its local sub-group on a forward looking health and social care solution for Royston and the surrounding villages.

“If you wish to be kept up to date with developments email with RHAG in the subject line to be added to the mailing list.”