A £3.7m community hospital in the heart of Havant is just days away from completion.
After more than a year of building work, NHS Hampshire is putting the finishing touches to the Oak Park Community Clinic in Lavant Drive.
The facility will open before Christmas and mean that thousands of people across Havant, Waterlooville and East Hampshire do not have to make a journey to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
It comes after years of waiting for residents as the initial plans for a single, large hospital were shelved due to lack of money.
Kate Turner, chairwoman of Havant and Bedhampton Community Network, a panel of residents’ associations, said: ‘It’s great.
‘We all welcome the facility that’s going to be there. Everybody is thrilled we have actually got a community hospital and they don’t have to go to Queen Alexandra.
‘But there’s a bit of concern about traffic – they have got to make sure the access is right.’
The building work involved extending the Oak Park Children’s Centre – a £4m facility that opened in 2006 – and gutting the inside to create new treatment areas.
Some services currently provided at Havant Health Centre will move to Oak Park – including X-ray, ultrasound and echocardiograms.
Oak Park will also provide outpatient appointments, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, a mobile MRI unit, podiatry, diabetic retinopathy screening and children’s outpatient services.
Inger Hebden, director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘It’s all coming together.
‘I think the building looks lovely.
‘It looks like a modern health facility to be proud of.
‘It’s going to make a number of services more accessible.’
Oak Park opening does, however, spell the end for Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital.
Mrs Hebden said: ‘We expect the hospital will be empty by the beginning of next year.
‘Then it will be available for disposal. One option being looked at by the local GPs is they might want to move in for their surgery. But it’s still just an idea at the moment.’
NHS Hampshire and Hampshire County Council are still working on plans to build a 60-bed nursing centre in Lavant Drive including 10 beds for elderly mental health patients.