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[18 NOV 98] HEALTH NEWS
New Hospital At Walsgrave

Coventry’s new super hospital looks set to be built at Walsgrave – but the wrangle over the future of the city’s healthcare provision will rage into the new year.

The Coventry Health Authority, Warwickshire Health Authority, Walsgrave NHS Trust, Coventry Healthcare NHS Trust and the City Council released a joint statement today coming down firmly on the side of the Walsgrave site but not totally ruling out the city centre option.

A three month consultation period will start at the beginning of next month while at the same time the city council will carry out more work to test the viability of the city centre site.

A row over which site will be more suitable for the joint venture development of a super hospital has raged for months with the council opting for the city centre and the hospital trust preferring Walsgrave on the outskirts of the city.

The statement, released this morning, said that all parties agreed a new hospital was of over-riding importance for the city and were committed to working to that end.

It said:

"Over the last three months, given the preference of Coventry Health Authority and Coventry City Council for the Coventry and Warwickshire site, an assessment has been taking place to establish whether the new hospital could be delivered on the C&W site. There are however a number of practical difficulties still to be finally resolved. These include.

  • The acquisition of all the necessary land.
  • The need to advance 20 million capital in order to build the new Mental Health Unit earlier and re-house the C&W services in a refurbished building (that is the Caludon Centre, the existing Mental Health facility on the Walsgrave site).
  • The difficulties associated with having to move all of the services from the C&W site whilst the new hospital is built.

"The work to establish whether the first two issues can be overcome can be completed by December. The third issue presents as more fundamental problem. It could delay progress on the scheme up to 12 months and jeopardise the inclusion of the Coventry scheme in the second wave of PFI.

"The NHS partners have concluded that he consultation document will propose that the development takes place on the Walsgrave site. However the City Council, though acknowledging that the planning of the Walsgrave option is more advanced, believes that the obstacles to the C&W option can be overcome.

"It was agreed therefore that further work should be undertaken during the consultation period to establish if the C&W option can be made to work. This would include an evaluation by the City Council of the wider regeneration and environmental implications of both sites, which will be undertaken in conjunction with the NHS PFI project team extended to include Coventry City Council representation.

"Coventry Health Authority and Warwickshire Health Authority will launch the consultation document at the beginning of December. The consultation period will be three months to the end of February with decisions on the way forward being taken by the Health Authorities in March to allow an OJEC advertisement by the Walsgrave Hospitals NHS by the end of the March to attract private sector partners for the scheme."

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CWN / Health / 18 Nov 98 / New Hospital At Walsgrave

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