Hospitals sale ‘a betrayal’

Two empty Fylde coast hospitals could be sold off after health bosses today announced plans to put them on the market.

By Paul Berentzen
Thursday, 17th October 2013, 2:34 pm
Wesham Hospital
Wesham Hospital

Rossall and Wesham Hospitals are both currently vacant after rehabilitation services were moved to Clifton Hospital in St Annes.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed it is looking to off load the buildings and will be marketing them “shortly”.

The trust is keeping its options open at this stage and will begin by inviting interested parties to put forward their ideas for how they could be brought back into use.

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Once the interest has been assessed, health chiefs will decide how to proceed – with sale of the hospitals a possibility.

Campaigners in Wesham described the move as a “betrayal” of residents.

Coun Liz Oades, who fought against the closure of the hospital, said the move left residents in the area with scant medical facilities, other than GP practices.

She said: “They have sold off the family silver.

“There isn’t even anywhere to get a prescription after noon on a Saturday.”

Coun Elaine Silverwood added: “It is a crime, a betrayal of the people here.

“It will send a shiver through the community – we have been dealt yet another blow in rural Fylde.

“People are struggling to get to Clifton Hospital due to poor public transport links, and when you have a loved one who is poorly, it is the last thing you want.”

Meanwhile, Fleetwood councillor Bill Barrow said he was not surprised by the decision to sell Rossall Hospital but called on health bosses to remember the promises they made when it closed.

He added: “We were told the property would be used for health-related purposes.”

He called for attention to be turned to improving Fleetwood Hospital and where 20 rehabilitation beds earmarked for the port will go.

After a three-month consultation period, NHS groups agreed in May to move all rehabilitation services from Rossall and Wesham hospitals to Clifton Hospital.

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals said: “Following the public consultation ‘Improving Patient Care – The Next Steps’ which resulted in the transfer of patients requiring rehabilitation from Wesham Hospital and Rossall Hospital to Clifton Hospital, both Wesham and Rossall Hospitals are currently unoccupied. We will shortly be marketing these hospitals for expressions of interest for their future use.”