THORNBURY’S MP has met with the Health Secretary to try and speed the building of a new health centre for the town.
Luke Hall met Victoria Atkins in January “to discuss how quickly the redevelopment can happen”.
In November the government agreed to fund a £1.3 million study to prepare a business case for the project, four years after the old Thornbury Hospital in Eastland Road closed its doors for the last time.
But there is still no indication of when work will start on the proposed new £14.4m health centre, which is intended to provide a base for the town’s GP surgeries, enhanced mental health support, NHS beds and a “frailty hub”, focusing on older people receiving care at home.
The old 1920s hospital building had been declared “not fit for purpose” by North Bristol NHS Trust and had been blighted by anti-social behaviour as services wound down.
After the hospital closed, new facilities were set up at the St Mary’s Centre, known as Thornbury Outpatients.
Project dogged by delays
Redevelopment plans for the site have been dogged by delays – initially because NBT owned the old hospital, but the adjacent health centre was owned by NHS Property Services.
That was resolved in 2022 year when South Gloucestershire Council bought the site for £3.4m, with a loan from the West of England Combined Authority.
The £1.3m funding was given to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, which funds NHS services in the area.
Mr Hall said the award money had followed a ten-year campaign which involved calling several debates in Parliament and a petition submitted to the Department for Health and Social Care.
He said NHS officials are working on the final details of which health services will be included and how long the rebuild will take.
Mr Hall said: “I made clear that the remaining preparatory work should be sped up, so the rest of the money can be agreed without delay.
“It’s been a long road, but we are another step closer to delivering a new Thornbury Heath Centre. I won’t stop fighting until we have secured the health services that our community needs.”
As well as the ICB business case, South Gloucestershire Council is developing plans for new extra care housing, for older people in need of personal and household care, on part of the site.