Old hospital site could be the new home for Emsworth surgery

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A PURPOSE-built surgery to cater for around 13,000 patients in the Emsworth area has taken a step closer to coming to fruition.

Emsworth Surgery, which currently occupies a cramped building in North Street, has confirmed it is in ‘active negotiations’ with a view to acquiring the Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital site.

As reported, the 120-year-old building was due to be auctioned off by NHS Property Services – sparking fears the site would become another housing development.

But the auction was cancelled at the eleventh hour and the surgery has released a statement following a meeting of stakeholders.

The statement said: ‘The doctors and staff of Emsworth Surgery would like to thank all those who attended.

‘The meeting was called because of the intention of NHS Property Services to auction the site of the Victoria Cottage Hospital this month. However, before the meeting happened we received confirmation that the Cottage Hospital site had been withdrawn from the auction.

‘Emsworth Surgery and NHS Property Services are now in active negotiations with a view to acquiring this site and building a new surgery.

‘The partners of Emsworth Surgery will endeavour to keep all stakeholders fully up to date with any developments as and when they arise.’

The statement added: ‘The partners would like to emphasise that the site going up for auction was not due to a breakdown of negotiations regarding Emsworth Surgery but more a lack of communication between the local NHS Property Services team and their central administration in London. This has now been rectified.’

Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray said residents were anxious for a new surgery as soon as possible, having expected new facilities when the hospital first closed in 2005.

He said: ‘The site is obviously the right place for a medical facility.

‘It would be tragic if we lost it. People want it and wish the doctors well in the negotiations. I still think the question is: What is their plan B? Have they got a plan B?’

If approved, the old hospital would be demolished and replaced with a new building.