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Swaffham Community Hospital investment ‘will secure its future’ for foreseeable future

17:04 14 February 2013

David Gulliver, chairman of Swaffham Community Hospital League of Friends, with a previous petition to save the hospital.

David Gulliver, chairman of Swaffham Community Hospital League of Friends, with a previous petition to save the hospital.

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A £900,000 investment in Swaffham Community Hospital on its 125th anniversary will safeguard its future “for the foreseeable future”, the chairman of its friends has said.

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The project, which aims to improve infection control, patient privacy and dignity, and make the unit safer, is due to finish in the summer.

A new waiting area will help keep the inpatient ward and outpatient clinic areas separate, and the physiotherapy outpatient area will be refurbished and expanded.

The 18-bed ward will gain new wash basins designed to modern infection control standards, and a shower will be converted into a larger wet room to give people more space and the choice between a bath or shower.

The hospital, which was built for Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887 and opened the following year, was threatened with closure in 2006, but hundreds of local residents campaigned to save it.

David Gulliver, chairman of the Swaffham Community Hospital League of Friends, said: “It’s a huge boost for the hospital here in Swaffham. It shows that it has a future because, of course, it went through a period when they were thinking of closing it down about six years ago, and that was very traumatic for us.”

Ian Sherwood, who represents the town on Breckland Council, said: “I think the NHS sees the value of the hospital we have here. It’s not just being kept because of some sentimental value. They would not be investing that kind of money unless it is beneficial.”

Lorraine Campbell, modern matron at the hospital, said: “The hospital plays such a valuable role in the heart of the local community, so I am delighted that it is seeing such significant investment and improvements.

“These upgrades will enable the hard-working NHS staff at the unit to continue to provide the very best care to local people for years to come and will really benefit our patients and their families.”

X-ray facilities will also return in April, following a 10-month period when patients had to travel to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. The new equipment, which is expected to cost about £20,000, is funded by the league of friends.

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