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LOCAL MP, Michelle Donelan, is building the case for an upgrade of Melksham Community Hospital, with a new call for investment.
After meeting with members of the Friends of Melksham Hospital and Community group at the hospital site last Friday, 10th February, the MP plans to establish a local steering group to bring community members together. The group will work to demonstrate the business case and level of demand for services in the community, given the increase in housing and pressure on local doctors.
The calls for increased services at the hospital have grown following a Freedom of Information request last month by Melksham News revealed that over 34,000 people a year from the SN12 Melksham postcode visit the Royal United Hospital in Bath for treatment. Additionally, the increase in the number of homes being built in Melksham in recent years and Wiltshire Council’s ‘emerging’ Local Plan, which earmarks a further 2,500 homes in the Melksham area in the years up to 2036, has led to further calls from the Melksham community for an increase in local healthcare services.
The hospital site has been without a minor injuries unit since 2002 and the remaining ward with beds was shut in 2007, despite a considerable campaign against this at the time. The hospital now provides X-ray, mental health, and physiotherapy services only.
The local MP is scheduled to sit down and discuss the benefits of upgrading the site with the Health Secretary, Steven Barclay MP, in the coming weeks and has invited him to visit the hospital in Melksham. She will also continue making the case to the Integrated Care Board who allocate local funding, having met them for discussions last month.
Michelle Donelan MP said, “Since the services at Melksham Hospital were reduced in the 2000s, we know that Melksham has had more than its fair share of housing in that time. Health facilities have not grown in line with this and local people are clearly experiencing difficulties and long waits to get treated, as well as having to go to larger hospitals in Bath, Bristol and Swindon, which can be time consuming, expensive and inaccessible.
“Whilst securing investment to upgrade the hospital is a long-term goal for Melksham and the wider area, that won’t happen overnight. We do know that increasing the range of services, with more staff and more equipment, would make a real difference for accessing treatment, as well as increasing capacity for urgent care at our larger hospitals.
“Our next step is to demonstrate the level of demand for these services in the community, so I will be raising this at every opportunity with the Department for Health and the Integrated Care Board, to look at the best way of making this happen and give us the best chance of securing the investment Melksham Hospital needs.”
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