Deal to sell hospital site moving closer

Bispham Hospital
Bispham Hospital
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Talks to sell Bispham Hospital are nearing their conclusion.

Health chiefs are saying little about the deal, which has suffered from delays, but it is understood to be worth around £1.5 million.

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust put the facility, in Ryscar Way, up for sale earlier this year in a bid to balance the books amid huge budget cuts.

The trust, which has saved £40m over the last two years but must find a further £83m over the next five, had hoped to complete the sale before the end of the financial year, which it ended £14.6m in the red, papers revealed.

Rossall Hospital was sold to Belsfield Care Limited last year for £975,000, the trust also revealed.

In a statement, the trust said: “Negotiations are ongoing for the sale of Bispham Hospital, and the trust expects to exchange contracts in the near future.

“It would be inappropriate to go into further detail about the impending sale at this stage.”

The trust said it was unable to say who the prospective buyer is, though Spiral Health, a social enterprise contracted to provide rehabilitation care at the hospital until April, said earlier this year it was looking into the possibility of buying the hospital.

The community interest company, which does not aim to make a profit, is understood to be very close to concluding a deal, which could be announced this week, alongside a third party.

Bispham Hospital – Spiral’s flagship 40-bed therapy unit – closed to patients in April when the trust ended its contract after four years.

If it reopens, it could offer respite care, care home facilities, and intermediate care – for those leaving hospital but not quite fit enough to go home, it is understood.

Spiral’s chief executive Tracey Bush was unable to comment yesterday, but told The Gazette in January: “We’re currently talking to the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), who look after health provision in the region, to discuss alternative service provision, and the possibility of Spiral Health buying the Bispham site with a partner.

“To date, we’ve saved the public purse £2.7m and for every pound invested in Spiral Health there has been a return of investment of £3.63 within the local community.”

Blackpool North Cleveleys’ Conservative MP, Paul Maynard said he was angry at the contract being scrapped, saying it had been a ‘success story’, though David Owen, chairman of the 38 Degress Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Support Group, said he was against ‘any privatisation of the health service.’