DESPITE a chequered history, work is now well under way at the new Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston.
Following the demolition of the original building, the main contractors Speller Metcalfe have started on-site to create a modern, purpose-built hospital for the community of Shipston and the surrounding villages.
Recognising the rich history of the original building, South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust have secured as many historical artefacts as possible, which will be incorporated into the new hospital.
All of the brick work from the demolished building is also being used as materials for the new build.
Groundworks have now been completed to enable the building to start taking shape and over the coming months the local community will start to see the steel work going up, with the work expected to be completed next summer.
The new site is set to provide enhanced clinical spaces for hospital and community services, bringing more specialties and clinics closer to the local communities in and around Shipston.
All of the specialties that were previously run from the site will return and clinical and operational teams are continuing to identify other services.
Returning services include – heart failure nurses, urology, maternity, health visiting, obstetrics and gynaecology, audiology, ENT, physiotherapy, ophthalmology and the specialist parkinson’s disease nurse. The development will also include the infrastructure to bring on-site mobile diagnostics and SWFT is working with partners who run services such as the breast scanner.
The trust is also working closely with the Stour Health and Wellbeing Partnership to co-design the Health and Wellbeing Hub. This will be a community-led space that will offer a holistic range of activities to support the wellbeing of all age ranges within the local community.
The out of hospital teams will also be part of this design work to understand how to incorporate the benefits from the day hospital into this space.
To support the development of the Health and Wellbeing Hub, Stratford District Council has awarded £900,000 of community infrastructure levy funding to the project.
SWFT chief medical officer Dr Charles Ashton said: “It is fantastic to see work starting on site to develop a facility that will offer so many clinical services – making them more accessible for local people.
There have been several factors that have resulted in changes to the design, plans and timescales, but despite those external influences the trust has remained committed to investing in healthcare for Shipston and the local villages.
“As part of our trust strategy, we know that keeping people well in their community for as long as possible supports better long-term outcomes for patients. Therefore, the services provided at the new Ellen Badger Hospital will help us to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and help people to live longer lives, with fewer years of ill health.”
Controversy was sparked last month however when it was revealed there would be no in-patient beds at the new hospital. Instead patients would be directed to Stratford Hospital. And it is still not clear whether a new health centre, which was part of the original development plan, will come to fruition.