£1.3 million plan heralds a new dawn for Newmarket's hospital
A £1.3 million project which could herald the dawn of a new era for Newmarket’s much-loved hospital is officially under way.
Plans have been submitted for construction work to accommodate the relocation of the town’s Oakfield Surgery to the hospital’s Exning Road site.
A decision on that application is expected from the district council in January with construction set to start next June and be complete by January 2020.
The relocation of the Vicarage Road surgery, which currently caters for just over 7,000 patients, is being seen as the first phase of a wider ranging plan to develop Newmarket Hospital into a health and well-being hub for the people of the town and its surrounding villages.
And, according to Suffolk NHS, early discussions have already taken place with existing health providers at the hospital alongside other partners including West Suffolk Hospital, Suffolk Primary Care and West Suffolk Council about how it will be developed in the future.
A spokesman for Suffolk NHS said: “This sees a shift in the balance of provision from acute hospitals to locally provided integrated services. We would like to develop a hub to ensure increased access to the right services at the right time, services that offer preventative support that helps people to manage their own wellbeing and health needs, reduce avoidable acute attendances and admissions and reduce delayed transfers of care.”
Paul Cross, portfolio optimisation manager at NHS Property Services, said it was delighted to support the new extension to the hospital to accommodate the surgery move which he said would be ‘a significant first step in developing additional primary care facilities to complement the services already provided by the hospital’.
And Newmarket’s MP, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said: “Having our excellent GPs and primary care staff on the Newmarket Community Hospital site is a welcome move for healthcare in the town.
“This is a vote of confidence for our brilliant community hospital and I am so pleased to see the expansion of the hospital going ahead.”
More by this authorAlison Hayes