Multi-million pound hospital project ‘is making good progress’
15:22 15 February 2017
Multi-million pound plans to bring 48 hospital beds to Wells are making good progress and will serve the local community, the man leading the project has confirmed.
The aim is to create an intermediate nursing unit to provide the next stage of care to patients who have been in hospital.
The development is subject to planning permission and is due to be based in a new building, on land owned by the Holkham Estate, next to Wells Community Hospital. It would also offer a step up in care for people who have been treated at home.
The ambitious scheme has been planned for many years, although originally for just 24 beds. Twelve beds will be for dementia patients and several jobs would be created.
Concerns have been raised in Wells about whether the project will ever be completed and if the facilities will be available to local residents, or just private health care users.
Iain Mackechnie-Jarvis, chairman of Wells Community Hospital Trust, said: “We have adjusted the original plans and doubled the number of beds to make the project more economically viable.
“The project will continue to be overseen by the trust and will be run as a partnership between a private health care provider and the NHS.
“Some of the beds will be used by private health care users but it will absolutely still be accessible to local residents and will be well used by the NHS.”
He added: “GPs have been asked about this and a through needs assessment has been carried out and concluded that there is a huge need for a facility like this in this part of north Norfolk, due to the shortage of such facilities around here and the age profile of people living in this area.
“It will ease pressure on the major hospitals who have been struggling to cope with the numbers of accidents and emergencies they have to deal with and it will provide care for people closer to their homes and families.
“It is a very complex project and things don’t just happen overnight. We aim to be speaking to a private provider later this year and, if we get planning permission, we could see spades in the ground by the end of 2018.”
A campaign, backed by the EDP and Fakenham and Wells Times, saved Wells Community Hospital from closure in 2006.