New plans submitted for 24-bed ward at North Walsham hospital

Plans have been submitted for a new 24-bed ward at the North Walsham Cottage Hospital.

And there are also proposals for a new main entrance to the Rebecca House building on the campus.

The 24-bed intermediate care ward, which will be split into four-bed wards and eight single rooms, will replace the 18-bed unit in the current hospital which will be knocked down.

Intermediate care is for patients who need to be looked after in a ward but do not need to be in an acute hospital such as the Norfolk and Norwich or Queen Elizabeth, King's Lynn.

The plans are the third part of a five-phase project which it is hoped will see the new North Walsham hospital up and running this autumn.

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The first stage of the renovation of the hospital is currently under way, with Rebecca House, the former mental health in-patient unit, already undergoing a �1.6m revamp to provide outpatient services, clinics and administration offices ready for this spring.

Now plans for the 24-bed ward at the Yarmouth Road site have been submitted to North Norfolk District Council and are under consultation.

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The current hospital was built in the early 1920s but has been described as no longer fit for purpose, with corridors too narrow to move beds out of wards. The new hospital will be known as North Walsham and District War Memorial Hospital.

In documents submitted with the planning application, which has been drawn up with the help of architectural and interior design practice Chaplin Farrant, it states: 'The building will provide a ward service to replace that in the adjacent War Memorial Hospital. The facility will meet all current health service codes and will represent a considerable improvement in service.'

Brian Elliott, chairman of the community involvement panel which helped draw up the scheme for the new hospital and chairman of the hospital's league of friends, said: 'We are really pleased; work is progressing well. We have been campaigning for several years on this. There were times when we had to fight to keep the hospital, so this is the icing on the cake; it is going to be great for North Walsham.'

The building work is being carried out by Mansell Construction Services, which is part of Balfour Beatty. It is being managed by Norlife, which is a 20-year partnership set up between some of the local public sector authorities in Norfolk and the private sector developer, Guildhouse.

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