£2m refit secures future of hospital
THE future of a hospital serving thousands of East Riding people has been secured after more than £2 million of funding was approved.
Hornsea Cottage Hospital is in a run-down state and patients feared its existence was threatened by the opening of the new East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley.
Now the facility, which serves more than 10,000 people in Hornsea and villages within an eight-mile radius, is to be completely refitted to make it fit for purpose.
The announcement follows more than £2 million being secured, £1.019 from the Department of Health and £1 million from the Strategic Health Authority.
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Campaigners, who have fought hard to secure the hospital's future, are delighted by the news.
June Barton, of the League of Friends at Hornsea Cottage Hospital, said: "This investment will benefit the whole community. We were concerned about the hospital's future.
"They will keep the shell as it is, apart from a new entrance. But the interior will have as many services as possible.
"The out-patients services will mean patients not having to travel through to Hull Royal or to Castle Hull."
Work will start on the refurbishment next month. Design work is about 70 per cent complete and the appointment of a contractor is well under way.
The aim is to have the work finished by March next year.
East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has welcomed the news that the hospital will benefit from investment in better clinical consultation and treatment areas, improved X-ray facilities and additional space for the neighbouring GPs' practice.
CCG chairman Dr Gina Palumbo said: "It was clear at the stakeholder events that people are incredibly proud of Hornsea Cottage Hospital and want to see the hospital continue to deliver high-quality health care for the local area.
"The support of communities and clinicians is essential to ensure the right services are developed to match local needs and expectations.
"The CCG will continue to explore options with local health providers around the future potential the site offers for the benefit of the people of Hornsea."
Ms Barton has been part of the project team working with the primary care trust.
Her initial aim was to retain in-patient beds in Hornsea despite the opening of the new East Riding Community Hospital in Swinemoor Lane, Beverley.
That facility includes 30 beds for intermediate care, rehabilitation and palliative care.
The fight for beds at Hornsea has been lost but Ms Barton feels it is now important to support the huge improvements at the cottage hospital.
She said: "It's the best deal we could get for Hornsea."
That view is shared by East Riding Councillor Barbara Jefferson, also from Hornsea, who sits on the council's health and wellbeing scrutiny committee.
She said: "We've been campaigning all along to keep the beds but there comes a time when you have got to move forward.
"The idea is to bring more services into this hospital so people don't have to travel. Hornsea residents have been clear that they want a hospital. They want somewhere you can go at 9am and be seen."
The announcement of the modernisation of Hornsea Cottage Hospital follows the unveiling of a £1.3 million revamp at Alfred Bean Hospital in Driffield last year.
That site also lost its in-patient beds as part of the move to the East Riding Community Hospital.
Alfred Bean Hospital League of Friends battled against the loss but they too opted to welcome the investment.
The £19 million East Riding Community Hospital opened in July. Its opening had been briefly delayed to allow the Care Quality Commission to carry out inspections before services moved in.
The hospital in Swinemoor Lane was built on land sold by Beverley Consolidated Charity.
Those funds have now been spent on building almshouses for elderly residents in Keldgate, Beverley.
As well as causing concerns beds would be lost in both Hornsea and Driffield, the creation of a 30-bed hospital in Beverley prompted criticism from those who live alongside the new facility.
Their fears included the effect on traffic congestion in the Swinemoor Lane area and the impact of building on land known to flood.