Royston Hospital decision 'months away'

PUBLISHED: 16:15 13 June 2013

Royston Hospital sign

Royston Hospital sign

Archant

A FINAL decision on the future of Royston Hospital and health services in the town is still a matter of months away.

The hospital, on London Road, was due to close in April, with all health services transferring to an extended Royston Health Centre, in Baldock Road.

However this scheme was put on hold last month as the Cambridgeshire Association to Commission Health (CATCH), which oversees health services in the Royston area, and Propco, the arm of the NHS that deals with facilities, decided to have a “pause for reflection.”

Royston’s county councillor Fiona Hill arranged a meeting with CATCH and Propco on Friday, where the health authorities elaborated on their plans.

Cllr Hill said: “They want to look at all the options and make sure the outcome we get is the right one for Royston, and we end up with a facility that meets the requirements of the town.

“It’s anticipated that this pause for reflection will be several months rather than weeks or years. I felt it was important to find out a bit more about their intentions, and have asked for regular briefings going forward.”

The meeting was also attended by Royston MP Oliver Heald and Cllr Tony Hunter, county councillor for North Herts Rural.

Mr Heald said: “We made it clear that we want to keep at least the same number of clinics in the town, and if anything we want to see the number increased.

“I’ve asked for a diabetic clinic, as this is something which is being introduced in other areas, and they said they would consider that.

“Hopefully we will end up with something that the majority of people are happy with, and I would be happy for that to be at the London Road site as long as it can provide facilities for the future.”

If the hospital closes, the plan is to turn it into a privately run care home with NHS intermediate beds.

The Royston Hospital Action Group (RHAG) has been fighting the closure, and in April had the hospital site added to a register of community assets.

A spokesman for RHAG said they were “encouraged” by the news, and that they would be meeting with Propco in the coming weeks.

The spokesman said: “We will convey to them the strength of local feeling for whole community health and social care using the hospital site.”

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