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Hospital suffers major setback

PUBLISHED: 13:27 11 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 March 2010

HEALTH chiefs remain confident a new £12 million town hospital will open by 2004 despite the plans suffering a major set back.

Plans to open the long awaited Sudbury health village by 2004 are now in doubt after the NHS Executive's eastern regional capital group decided not to approve the outline business case for the scheme this week.

HEALTH chiefs remain confident a new £12 million town hospital will open by 2004 despite the plans suffering a major set back.

Plans to open the long awaited Sudbury health village by 2004 are now in doubt after the NHS Executive's eastern regional capital group decided not to approve the outline business case for the scheme this week.

The news is a major blow to the multi-million pound project, which will now fall at least a month behind its strict timetable of developments. The delays to the hospital could be even longer if the NHS Executive decides not to approve the outline business case at its next board meeting in early April.

Despite the set back representatives of the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, which is leading the project, refuse to be down beat about the decision. They claim the scheme will soon be back on track and claim the opening date will only be delayed by around a month.

The NHS Executive said it supported the proposed model of care at Sudbury, but added that it needed clarification regarding how the financing of the new hospital fits into the overall investment plans for services in west Suffolk.

These services will be commissioned by the new Suffolk West Primary Care Trust from April 1.

The trust was relying on the business case being approved this week to allow it to stay on course for a previously published timetable of developments.

It had hoped to sign contracts with private finance partnership organisations by April 2003 and start work on the hospital the following month, with the opening date earmarked for October 2004.

But with the whole scheme now being delayed the trust is not even allowed to advertise for private finance partners until the outline business case is given approval.

Despite the decision by the NHS Executive, project manager, Dave Poulter, is confident the plans will be approved at the next board meeting.


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