Progress over North Walsham hospital

Hospital supporters at North Walsham have welcomed the 'positive' progress being made over plans to redevelop the town's historic health unit.Health and social care bosses are linking up to look at the best use of the site after calls for 'joined up thinking' on the project.

Hospital supporters at North Walsham have welcomed the 'positive' progress being made over plans to redevelop the town's historic health unit.

Health and social care bosses are linking up to look at the best use of the site after calls for 'joined up thinking' on the project.

This week community representatives and health chiefs met with MP Norman Lamb for an update.

NHS Norfolk confirmed in a statement it was still committed to providing a 24-bed NHS unit.


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The meeting also heard that other services would be provided by refurbishing Rebecca House, the former mental health unit next to the cottage hospital.

Discussions about how some primary and social care could be accommodated on the site are ongoing, said the authority.

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A formal update will go to the NHS Norfolk board next month with another community meeting due in May.

Afterwards hospital friends chairman Brian Elliott said he was pleased with the positive responses from officials.

And Mr Lamb said that before Christmas locals, including GPs, were frustrated about the lack of progress, but there was now a 'sense of momentum' and the potential for providing care closer to home was 'the great potential prize here.'

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman added there were anxieties about the scheme's future under the forecast cut in public spending after a general election.

But officials were upbeat because the treatment at North Walsham would reduce admissions to hospitals and therefore costs in the long run.

But 'we must watch closely to ensure it happens,' he added.

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