Plans for hospital are up in the air’

PUBLISHED: 11:34 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 14:45 12 May 2010

PLANS are being drawn up for the development of the Royston and District Hospital. And whatever scheme is adopted it will be carried out on a realistic and achievable timescale. But members of North Herts District Council s Royston area committee remain

PLANS are being drawn up for the development of the Royston and District Hospital.

And whatever scheme is adopted it will be carried out on a "realistic and achievable" timescale.

But members of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee remain sceptical about plans for the hospital in spite of assurances from the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford NHS Primary Care Trust.

It is expected that any development on the hospital site will see a working partnership between the NHS trust and Herts County Council's social services.

But trust chief executive Vince McCabe said work was under way on a strategic case for re-building the hospital.

"We are aware of the importance of the hospital but there is growing recognition that making no change is not an option," he said.

He said the services to be provided at the hospital would be in line with local needs.

Mr McCabe said, however: "There is now the need for fewer specific NHS beds and more social care. Health and social care needs to be targeted."

He added that the development would see a joint project between the NHS trust and the county council's adult care services.

Cllr F John Smith said he was "disappointed" that there was nothing more "concrete" about the project. "There is nothing specific here about the use of the site."

And Cllr Tony Hunter said: "The problem is that there have been numerous projects about the hospital in the past. We would like a modern facility but what are the odds on it happening?"

He added: "I think the devil will be in the detail."

Cllr Doug Drake, a member of the county council's NHS trust scrutiny committee, said plans for the hospital had not really progressed. "There is no commitment that this is a commitment," he said.

He added that development of the hospital still seemed to be "up in the air".

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