Expansion of former Blackpool hospital will fill gap in care for elderly
The expansion of a former Blackpool hospital has been given the go-ahead in a move aimed at tackling the crisis in elderly care.
Blackpool Council planners have approved an application to build a two-storey extension at Bispham Gardens on Ryscar Way, which was previously Bispham Hospital.
Read more Hospital is sold for £1.5m
The scheme will see 24 new units built, to add to the existing 28 one-bedroom residences for elderly people with additional care needs.
A council report says demand for such facilities is increasing, while provision across the Fylde coast has fallen by an estimated 17 per cent.
Figures show 195 elderly people were waiting for residential placements in May this year, while nationally shortages in provision accounts for more than a quarter of delays in hospital discharges each year.
Blackpool's head of adult services, who was consulted as part of the planning process, had initially opposed the scheme after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns over standards at the facility.
But in September, the home was given a 'good' rating following an unannounced visit that month.
A planning report says: "The Bispham Hospital site is well established and long standing.
"There are not known to be any similar facilities in the nearby areas. The site is purpose built and separate from surrounding uses.
"The premises and location are therefore considered to be suitable for further residential institution development."
New patients will be admitted gradually over a three to six-month period, with staff numbers also increasing over this timeframe.
Bispham Hospital, which provided rehabilitation services, was sold by the NHS in 2016 for around £1.5m and converted by community interest company Spiral Health from a multi-ward facility into its current use offering nursing, palliative and dementia care.
It was sold by the NHS trust that runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital amid huge budget cuts.