Eye hospital refurbishment moves closer

The refurbishment of a Victorian hospital has moved a step closer after health chiefs invited contractors to come forward for the �1.5m development.

NHS Suffolk is calling on builders to put their names in the hat for the work at Hartismere Hospital in Eye, which will involve a major renovation of the 19th century property.

The health trust announced last month that it would be upgrading the building, in Castleton Way, which has been used for healthcare since 1948, after downgrading plans for a �6m redevelopment of the site.

The refurbished hospital will continue to house a mixture of community and specialist services, including podiatry, health visiting, mental health, diagnostics, rehabilitation, retinal screening and more.

Ten 'stepping stone' beds will continue to be commissioned at Paddock House on the hospital site to support older people to remain in their community and avoid a stay in an acute hospital.

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Outgoing NHS Suffolk chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown said: 'We are a step closer to seeing improvements in the building at Eye. Working with the people of Eye and its surrounding areas, this project will see a vast improvement in the healthcare facilities giving the building a new future at the heart of its community.'

Three contractors from the interested parties will be invited to bid for the works, which is due to begin on site in early 2011 with completion expected by the summer. Some of the surplus land around the hospital will be sold off to a nursing home provider and the rest for housing.

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Mark Marshall, NHS Suffolk's head of corporate development and infrastructure, said: 'This is the start of the next chapter in Hartismere Hospital's history. We have worked very closely with the community and staff and we are acutely aware of how important it is to everyone that we improve the building to continue to deliver the same high quality services on site.'

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