Half the Stamford Hospital site could be sold to ‘not-for-profit partner’

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MORE than half the Stamford Hospital site could be sold under plans put forward by health chiefs to revamp services there.

John Randall, medical director for Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, outlined the proposals at a public meeting on Monday evening.

The trust wants to revamp the hospital and expand services there but its plans depend on it being able to sell about 60 per cent of the site, at the east, for health and social care use.

The trust is hoping to attract a “not-for-profit partner” to develop the hospital as a “health campus”.

It is expected to invite tenders from potential partners through the European Journal, the official magazine of the EU at the end of this month. The tender process will take between six and nine months and if all goes to plan and there are no legal delays, the trust would expect to sign a contract by the end of June 2013.

Mr Randall said: “The development would be dependent on getting a partner; we don’t have the skill set for doing the reconstructive work.

“The site does need urgent redevelopment. There is quite a significant amount of space not used for clinical purposes.”

Mr Randall said the trust was committed to the future of Stamford Hospital, calling it a “major local asset”.

A business case outlining the redevelopment is being prepared by the trust and will be ready by the end of the year.

As part of the trust’s plans, the John Van Geest ward would be revamped, the outpatients department would have more services and oncology and haematology services would be expanded.

There would also be a day treatment unit, an endoscopy service, ante-natal services, imaging including ultrasound and X-ray, and an expanded therapy provision.

The minor injuries unit would become nurse-led by emergency nurse practitioners, who have at least eight years’ experience and are qualified to degree level or the equivalent. The trust hopes to pilot a nurse-led minor injuries unit for six months in the autumn.

It has not yet made a decision on the future of the operating theatre at the hospital.

Mr Randall told the 100 people gathered at Monday’s meeting, which took place at Stamford Arts Centre, that he was confident a partner would be found to carry out the redevelopment. But he added: “If we don’t (find a partner), we will have to look at other funding streams which in the current economic climate would be very difficult.”

There is a covenant on part of the hospital site requiring it to be used for health and social care.

Interim chief executive of the trust Dr Peter Reading was not present at Monday’s meeting but speaking to the Mercury before, he said: “We are looking at what a relatively small hospital can provide over the next five to 10 years.

“The first step is to work out what is best placed at Stamford and what patients need.

“We anticipate that we won’t need the whole of the site. It is a good location but at the moment we are using substantially less than half of it and common sense says there must be a way of developing it.”

Dr Reading said the trust was “quietly optimistic” it could find a partner to provide “health and social care or respite facilities at the hospital”.