By Alan Mak, MP for Havant on plans for former hospital
The Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital (EVCH) is an important site for residents of the town, having been at the heart of the community for more than 100 years.
That’s why it’s only right that as the future of the site is discussed, decision-makers have an open and frank dialogue with residents, giving them an opportunity to shape the future plans.
This failed to happen when last month when, without prior notice, I found out the site was being placed on the open market for sale.
For much of the past four weeks I’ve been campaigning on this issue and calling on the NHS' South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who started the sale process by declaring the site as surplus to requirements, to reverse their decision.
My argument was there needed to be more time speak with the Emsworth Medical Practice, who have indicated they are now willing to reconsider using the EVCH as the site for a new surgery. A freeze on the sale would also give local community groups time to come up with plans to acquire it.
After a number of phone calls, letters, and meetings – including going back to Westminster during the current summer recess – I am pleased my efforts have been successful: the EVCH has been taken off the market for sale.
This is an important starting point, and next month I’m inviting all of the key decision-makers, including the CCG, doctors and NHS Property Services, the owners of the building, to a meeting I’ve organised in Emsworth.
This will give the interested stakeholders a chance to discuss the plans for the EVCH and develop a plan or the future.
I do not support the sale of the site without the community first having the opportunity to buy it, and until the future of the Emsworth Surgery is decided.
Nominations are still open for my Havant Small Business Awards 2018. Whether it's a favourite cafe, pub or restaurant, a tradesman who has gone the extra mile, or a local business leader or apprentice who has inspired you, all nominations are welcome. Visit alanmak.org.uk/nominate to find out more.