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Decision on hospital's fate delayed

PUBLISHED: 09:37 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:01 13 July 2010

A final decision on the future of Aylsham Hospital will be delayed for at least another two months because a key review due to be officially discussed today has run on longer than expected.

A final decision on the future of Aylsham Hospital will be delayed for at least another two months because a key review due to be officially discussed today has run on longer than expected.

Members of the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), which oversees decisions made by the primary care trust, NHS Norfolk, were due to talk about Aylsham's future as part of their agenda - but needed a copy of the Finnamore report to do so.

The report, by management consultants Finnamore, will measure capacity of health and social care requirements for the county, including intermediate care and nursing and residential care.

Hospital supporters, staff and patients are awaiting news of Aylsham Hospital's fate following last year's lengthy community hospitals battle, which saw campaigns across the county aimed at saving health provision and beds on local sites including North Walsham, Kelling, Cromer and Fakenham.

People in and around Aylsham initially thought they would lose their hospital, but a determined campaign saw a stay of execution which has still not been resolved one way or the other.

The latest delay is because the Finnamore document being prepared by consultants will not be ready to go before the NHS Norfolk board until July 22, after which it should be made available to the HOSC.

But the HOSC will not meet again until September 4 because there is no August meeting.

Last night, Aylsham Town Council chairman Liz Jones, who has

been closely involved in the campaign to save the hospital, said the delay was disappointing for staff and patients.

And she added: “I would like to think the many pockets of resistance to these plans around the county have had some impact.

“Things are set to heat up again after the board meeting on July 22.”

Fellow campaigner and Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Broadland April Pond said: “We are now a year on from when they made the decision to close and we still don't know what is going to happen.

“I feel that this latest report is very wasteful of taxpayers' money.”

Janice Eells, chairman of the HOSC, said they had been expecting the Finnamore document earlier: “It is delaying it, but it is better if we do wait for that report.”

NHS Norfolk spokesman Jayne Ashworth said the report had been recently submitted to the trust, but it was not appropriate for the report to go to the HOSC before the trust board had received it and debated it on July 22.

“The important thing is that we need to get it right,” she added.


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