New hope for Royston Hospital?

Royston Health Centre. By Keith Dobney

Royston Health Centre. By Keith Dobney - Credit: Archant

THERE could be new hope for the future of Royston Hospital after health bosses decided to have a “pause for reflection” on the future of services in the town.

The hospital, on London Road, is due to be knocked down and replaced with a private care home with some NHS intermediate beds. Health services would be moved to Royston Health Centre, in Melbourn Street, which will undergo an extensive upgrade programme.

Work on the health centre extension was due to start on April 1, but has yet to get under way.

Royston MP Oliver Heald has spoken to Martin Royal, the regional director (Midlands and East) of the NHS Property Services, which is taking charge of the disposal of the hospital site.

He told Mr Heald that NHS Property Services is having a “pause for reflection” in order to consider whether the clinics would be best provided at the health centre or at the new building proposed for the London Road site of Royston Hospital.

“It is important to ensure that the clinics are in the best place,” said Mr Heald.

“I understand that Mr Royal will be discussing the plans with commissioners and local people, including campaigners.

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“I will continue to press for as many hospital services as possible in Royston and for us to retain what we currently have.”

The possible closure of Royston Hospital led to campaigners forming the Royston Hospital Action Group (RHAG), which has been trying to preserve the use of the site for the people of the town.

Last month they joined the Friends of Royston Hospital in getting the facility listed as an asset of community value, meaning a community bid could be launched to buy the site.

Maggie Allen, from RHAG, said: “The news that there is to be a reflection period is quite encouraging, at least we know they are listening to what is being said and not just ploughing ahead with their plans regardless.”