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Plan for funds raised from sale of Lowestoft Hospital revealed

PUBLISHED: 17:41 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:41 31 January 2019

Lowestoft Hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft Hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Thousands raised from the sale of Lowestoft Hospital have been pumped into “transforming” the James Paget Hospital’s emergency department.

Protesters camapigned outside the former Lowestoft Hospital to try and stop the sale of the building. Picture: Nick ButcherProtesters camapigned outside the former Lowestoft Hospital to try and stop the sale of the building. Picture: Nick Butcher

In a report by the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a spokeswoman for the Trust said the developments would help ease pressure in A&E and prevent unnecessary admissions.

The net profits raised from the £475,000 sale will go towards funding “significant Trust investment” in the expansion of the Ambulatory Care Unit (AmbU).

The Great Yarmouth and Waveney Joint Health Scrutiny Committee is set to bring together members of Suffolk and Norfolk county councils, as well as Waveney District and Great Yarmouth Borough councils, on Friday morning (February 1) at 10.30am at the Waveney District Council headquarters at Riverside, Lowestoft.

The report states: “AmbU is an outpatient service, which brings healthcare teams to the patient and is nationally recognised as an effective way of delivering safe care for an increasing number of conditions, while improving patient experience.

“It allows patients to receive diagnosis, observation, consultation and treatment services in one area of the hospital and is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for patients.

“The previous AmbU unit, established in 2015, was designed to support 20 patients per day, but sometimes it had to cater for double that number.

“Now care is being delivered from a brand new, purpose-built facility which is double the size of the previous unit and can see three times as many patients.”

The unit includes six single treatment rooms, an IV room, GP referral assessment area, and a Point of Care Testing (POCT) room.

The total spending on the scheme is priced at £3.035m, which includes a £1m allocation from the Department of Health and £469,000 net profit from the sale of the hospital.

The trust has also invested £2.565m in resources.

A last-ditch effort was made to prevent the sale of the hospital, with campaigners hoping to reopen the site.

The report states: “While there was a great deal of affection for the hospital, those that participarted in the 12 week public consultation recognised that modern healthcare needed to be provided in modern facilities.

“The outcome of the consultation was that an out-of-hospital team would be in place to care for people closer to or in their own homes, recognising the challenges of providing care from the very old hospital in Lowestoft.

“The Trust is required to maximise its use of resources to provide high quality and sustainable care for patients. The former Lowestoft Hospital site was sold for £475,000, which was in line with the reserve price.

The Trust said approximately 33pc of the patients seen by staff hold Lowestoft postcodes.

The decision to sell the hospital was made by the James Paget Hospital’s board of directors in June 2017, with the site going to auction on October 25 last year.

The report states: “The trust’s priority is always its patients and their needs, ensuring services are safe and effective.

“This underpins all decisions that are made to deliver care to our population of over 230,000 people.

“All proceeds from the sale of the site are being used to continue to enhance the healthcare provided to our local population, from the northern villages to Southwold, including the people of Lowestoft.”

It was revealed last week that the mystery buyer behind the winning bid was Daniel Shreeve, owner of Lowestoft-based Shreeve Commercial Ltd.

He vowed to be “sympathetic” to the history of the site, and said plans would aim to enhance the community.

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