Private company will fund new Clevedon hospital

A PRIVATE company is being sought to fund and build Clevedon’s new community hospital.

NHS North Somerset has placed an advert looking for a private sector partner to construct and pay for the new facility at Millcross, which will then be leased back to the health authority.

In recent months, questions have been raised about whether NHS North Somerset would have enough money to build the �19million hospital due to the Government’s current cost-cutting drive.

It is only now that this latest step in the project can take place after the South West Strategic Health Authority approved a business case submitted by NHS North Somerset that endorsed the decision to find a private sector partner.

The advert has been placed in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting companies to tender for the project and it is expected to take six months before the chosen partner is confirmed.

NHS North Somerset chief executive Chris Born said: “Once again we continue to make great strides forward toward the delivery of a new community hospital for the people of North Somerset.

“We look forward to announcing our preferred partner at the end of the procurement process in July.”

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The project has also made further progress with the latest planning application for the hospital, known as a reserved matters application, being approved by North Somerset Council.

This contained in much greater detail, information about the hospital’s layout, access and how it will look.

Construction on the hospital is due to start in November this year with the aim of opening to patients in the summer of 2013.

It will include facilities for outpatient treatment, therapies, rehabilitation, diagnostics and a minor injuries unit on the ground floor and 24 individual inpatient rooms on the first floor.

Outside there will be 80 public car parking spaces and landscaped gardens. There is also enough space on the site for the hospital to expand in the future.

Once the new hospital opens its doors, NHS North Somerset plans to sell the site of the current cottage hospital, for which it has submitted an outline planning application to allow 14 houses to be built in its place.