A £12 million plan to give Whitby Hospital a new look and role was given a big thumbs up at a packed meeting in the town at the weekend.
More than 300 people filled Whitby Pavilion, with standing room only, to hear that the redevelopment of the 53 year-old hospital will see a new 19 bed ward along with an Extra Care facility for older people.
NHS Property Services, the owners of the site, has confirmed it can commit to the £11.9m funding for the project.
Peter Todd, principal construction manager for NHS in the North East said palliative care would also be provided at the hospital adding: “It is not just a about a building - it is about a building which will provide community services.”
The meeting heard that the number of beds in the new development will be reduced from 24 to 19 because of more emphasis being put on caring for people in their own homes.
Assurances were given by representatives of the Hambleton, Whitby and Richmondshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that outpatient services services will be retained at the hospital, and the new Extra Care project will be developed through a housing association.
Scarborough and Whitby MP, Robert Goodwill, said the hospital was currently paying a high rent for the site and high running costs.
“Without the new development it would be difficult to keep the hospital going.”
NHS officers said the new hospital would provide facilities for people recovering from operation and clinics.
They added that it is also planned to a radiology department at the hospital in the future, working with the South Tees Hospital’s facilities.
The funding boost is welcome news for the hospital after a turbulent few months.
In December NHS chiefs ruled that hundreds of outpatient clinics were no longer financially viable.
Bosses at York Hospital NHS trust said that they had been left “with no choice but to withdraw” from outpatient care in Whitby from next May.
The CCG said that they were pursuing alternative options to continue providing as many services as possible.