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New hospital for melksham?

HEALTH campaigners in the town are hoping that Melksham will be chosen as the site for a new hospital.

A multi-million pound investment in health services in West Wiltshire has been announced by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which include plans to redevelop primary health care services in the Melksham, Trowbridge and Chippenham area.

The plans include a new 24 hour hospital with Melksham as one of the possible locations – although potential sites are still being considered and the plans are in their early stages.

The investment, with sites to be confirmed in any of the proposed towns, would include a new community hospital (hub), one community ‘spoke’ and three urgent treatment centres, alongside a much-needed increase in capacity for GP practices.

The hospital hub would include 24/7 inpatient facilities together with outpatient facilities, diagnostics, an urgent treatment centre and a GP same-day access centre, maternity services and office accommodation.

The spoke community site would offer similar facilities but without 24 hour cover.

Partial funding has already been secured to provide the community ‘spoke’ and one urgent treatment centre in Trowbridge, while sites for the new hospital are currently under consideration.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  has approved a ‘strategic outline case’ which recommends a way forward for health services in Melksham, Trowbridge and Chippenham.

In the SOC report, Wiltshire CCG say, “The redevelopment of  the community hospitals in  Melksham, Trowbridge and Chippenham presents an opportunity to integrate services, deliver care close to home, improve patient  outcomes, and ensure services are sustainable.”

Steve Perkins, Wiltshire CCG’s chief finance officer said, “Wiltshire CCG has a strategy founded on commissioning health services which are based in our communities rather than in acute hospitals. Keeping people well, supported and able to live independently at home is at the heart of all of our work. We know that flexible solutions will be the key to being able to support the health and wellbeing of our local population, in a way which is financially sustainable into the future.”

For the past eighteen years the Melksham News has been reporting the efforts of the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, supported by the Melksham Town and Melksham Without Parish councils, to engage with local people to identify their priorities for how Melksham might develop over the next ten years.

Several public ‘open house’ engagement events have been held in Melksham and the surrounding villages and public feedback have identified that health issues are a high priority for Melksham residents. Specialist engagement events have also been held to enable local people to share information and priorities with local GPs, the CCG and health care providers, so that everyone gets a better understanding of the challenges that face local primary care delivery in Melksham.

The Melksham Neighbourhood Plan will allocate land within the area for a range of community, employment, health, housing and recreational purposes. Some sites in the Melksham area have been identified as having potential to support health developments to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population and this information has been shared with the CCG at this early stage.