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Harborough's new hospital - just when will it start?

July 16, 2013 12:28 AM

Harborough health campaigner Cllr Phil Knowles has described the latest uncertainty on start dates of Harborough's new Hospital as deeply concerning. With the latest deadline of 22 April already missed, the authorities seem reluctant to commit to a start date.

Late last week Phil Knowles met with Dr Dave Briggs to underline community concerns and to try to get some additional information on the matter.

Phil says:

"There can be no question about Dr Briggs commitment and wish to deliver this scheme, but equally there is no question that the latest delay is one delay too many for the people of Harborough. The submission of the 'old style' business case by the consortium seems not to have met the requirements of the outgoing strategic health authority (SHA), which asked for some changes. By the time it was ready for resubmission the SHA had drifted into non existence. When the new bodies - NHS England and NHS Properties - came into being they would not accept the resubmitted business plan, asking for the drafting to be in a different style.

"The refreshed plan has now been submitted, I believe, and now the process starts again. Firstly the refreshed draft must be reviewed. Any changes to the draft would then need to be readdressed. If it's ok then it has to be pushed into the formal decision process which has numerous hoops. Only when all of this is completed could the final approval and sign off be given.

"A third party has speculated to me that this could be between two and six more months so we could be looking anything around nine months hold up from the 22 April date that was promised but, as I say, this is speculation. It could be more, it could be less - the NHS simply won't commit and that silence is a real worry. After all, we have had so many disappointments in the past we don't want any more.

One thing is sure. I have campaigned on this for over 25 years and I won't stop until the doors are finally opened and the project completed.''

Cllr Knowles is expected to meet Dr Dave Briggs again in a couple of months to push for an early conclusion. Phil has also offered to meet bosses from both NHS England and NHS Properties at any time.