CHRISTCHURCH residents concerned about the future of healthcare services at the hospital, have been reassured they are still a “priority”.

The leader of Christchurch council, Cllr Ray Nottage said the council is working with hospital chiefs to find a “suitable blueprint” for the site.

Councillors on the planning committee at Christchurch turned down £10million plans to transform Christchurch Hospital site into a healthcare hub.

Bournemouth Echo:

Plans included the demolition of the historic H Block and G Block – former workhouse infirmaries – as well as proposals to build an 80-bed car home, 36 senior living apartments and 81 keyworker flats.

The scheme was rejected by members concerned about the bulk and mass of the new buildings as well as the loss of heritage from H Block and G Block.

But after going back to the drawing board, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust say they have reduced the number of key worker homes by three and created more space around neighbouring properties.

They have also changed the design of the buildings replacing H Block at the front of the site.

Cllr Nottage, said: “We have received a fair amount of criticism following our decision, but this is an important site in a conservation area and we want to make sure that buildings of architectural merit are constructed here.

“The last thing we want to happen is for the hospital trust to withdraw any services from Christchurch as we understand how important it is for our residents to access services here without having to travel to Bournemouth or Poole.

“We are confident that we can find a way forward that will suit the hospital trust in its ambitions without compromising the conservation area or the desires of our residents.”

The Trust says the revised plan is a final bid to ensure the retention of services including the Macmillan Unit, bloods unit, X-ray and imaging department as well as outpatients.

Funding for the GP surgery on the site could be lost after March if the plans are not approved.

Report confirms failings of NHS Trust

IT HAS been described as one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS.

Hundreds of patients died because of “appalling” failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, a public report confirmed yesterday.

Bournemouth Echo:

Inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC, pictured above, called for a “zero tolerance” approach to poor standards of healthcare and made a total of 290 sweeping recommendations.

Now health leaders have pledged a review of the proposals.

Director of Nursing, Paula Shobbrook, said: “Quality of care and patient safety is our number one priority at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We are committed to putting patients first, delivering care with compassion; and providing dignity and respect for our patients.

“We are proud of the services we provide and of our staff. The public can be reassured that they have excellent local hospitals. We are not complacent, however, and the Board will continue to listen to our patients and staff to ensure the best outcomes and personal experience.”

Martin Smits, director of nursing and patient services at Poole said: “The Francis report is an important and detailed piece of work, and we will be reviewing it fully.”

Chief officer of Age UK Bournemouth, David Leighton, welcomed the concept of specialist nurses for the elderly but added: “It will only be effective if they are given the authority to implement change otherwise they could be given a poisoned chalice.”

Cllr Charles Meachin, chairman of the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Poole said: “We are very fortunate in Poole to have such high standards of health provision. But it is important not to become complacent.”