HEALTHCARE: South Gloucestershire Council to buy Thornbury Hospital
Long-delayed plans to improve healthcare in Thornbury have received a major boost after South Gloucestershire Council announced it was buying the town’s hospital site.
The “landmark agreement” with owners North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), set to be rubber-stamped by cabinet next month, will end a “30-year legacy of failure” and secure the land for better GP, outpatient and social care services.
It follows a £13.3million bid to the Government, backed by Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall, in December to redevelop the site.
This would provide a new base for the town’s GP surgeries, enhanced mental health support, NHS beds and a “frailty hub” focusing on older people receiving care at home.
Hopes of upgrading the facilities have suffered years of setbacks, with the main problem being that the NBT owns the hospital but the adjacent health centre is owned by NHS Property Services.
Now, though, the council has struck a deal to purchase the hospital site and concentrate services there.
Severn Vale ward Cllr Matthew Riddle said: “Having first proposed the council considers buying the land from the NHS to redevelop the hospital into a brand new health facility that would support residents in Thornbury and the surrounding villages, I am truly delighted on behalf of the residents I represent that the council’s Conservative leadership has been able to come through.”
Council leader Cllr Toby Savage said: “My mum used Thornbury Health Centre when pregnant with me and the facilities have barely changed since then.
“This new breakthrough is the furthest local Conservatives have come to make our vision a reality, with Thornbury having the modern healthcare facilities it so desperately needs.
“I am pleased we have been able to take this significant step towards our goal and towards ending the 30-year legacy of failure on this vital issue.”
The breakthrough follows a roundtable meeting earlier this month, arranged by the MP, to bring the council, NBT and other key healthcare partners together to raise the profile of the bid for the money with Health Minister Ed Agar.
Mr Hall, who has also secured the support of Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock for the project, said: “Redeveloping Thornbury Health Centre is a key part of our Positive Plan for health.
“It will mean our community can access the care they need closer to home, including more outpatient and GP services, mental health support and extra care housing.
“The whole community will be pleased that this sale has now been agreed.”
Separately, £100,000 has been secured from NHS England for a feasibility study to assess the need for rebuilding the GP-led health centre.
The cost of the hospital land sale is not being disclosed because of commercial sensitivity.
Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter
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