Jan Hull, speaking on behalf of NHS Somerset, outlined the history of the project. "4 sites had been identified over the years for replacement hospitals and 3 had been achieved but Bridgwater was the last to be considered. Now, with the new announcement from the Government that £16million funding would be released towards a total capital cost of £33million, Bridgwater was going to go ahead with some urgency."
completed by summer 2014
The proposed new Hospital would be built on land between Bower lane , Bath road and the M5 motorway. Construction would start by September 2012 and be completed by Summer 2014. There would be 30 inpatient beds, day treatment services,midwife led birthing centre,outpatient department, minor injury unit,diagnostic facilities and a therapies and rehabilitation department.
It was further estimated that the number of patients treated locally would increase from 29,000 to 62,000, inpatients from 596 to 756 and treatments from 200 to 1,500.
|Cllr Lerry "Ensure safeguards"|
Labour Councillors present at the meeting including Cllr Mike Lerry (Victoria) Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) Cllr Dave Loveridge (Eastover) and Cllr Ian Tucker (Dunwear) joined the committee in seeking answers to key questions.
requires better public transport
There was concern that the loss of a town centre location would require better public transport facilities and therefore that regular bus services should include a hospital stop.
The return of a maternity facility to Bridgwater was welcomed and members were assured that there would be 2 Delivery suites and appropriate extra beds as it would be a seeprate unit.
One key issue was whether the projected increase in numbers was simply a prediction based on increased population numbers with the new EDF development but members were advised that the new edge of town Bridgwater facility would attract users from the other district community hospitals as well. It was noted that people from outside of the town would find it more accessible instead of having to negotiate the town centre.
Worries about the looming traffic chaos in Bridgwater were raised and reassuring noises were made regarding the possibility of extra roundabouts on Bath road and Bower lane.
A major tie in with Bridgwater College would improve the economic development of the area with a direct link into skills and training.
It was noted that the financial arrangements included a capital receipt from the sale of the Salmon Parade site and that this was a listed building.
The lack of an A&E was noted and members expressed some concern about the failure to anticipate the potentially larger usage of local facilities with a larger and younger workforce in the area - not to mention that maybe only 2 delivery units might not be adequate...
|Cllr Taylor "Welcomed the development"|
welcomed the development
After the meeting Cllr Julian Taylor said he "..welcomed the development and would report the support of his committee to the Executive and then to the Full Council" he added " Somerset NHS are to be congratulated on the progress made."
Cllr Mike Lerry said "We want to ensure there are safeguards for the people of Bridgwater and we are concerned that people who are used to a town centre hospital with easy access will be catered for by this new edge of town development. We have had those assurances today and support this project."