Ward set to close in summer

A doomed hospital ward at Cromer is set to shut as early as this summer, to help prepare the complex for a £13m rebuild. Just days after health bosses agreed to the project, it was confirmed the Barclay ward - which will be scrapped in a new look hospital more geared to day surgery and clinics - will close in three months.

A doomed hospital ward at Cromer is set to shut as early as this summer, to help prepare the complex for a £13m rebuild.

Just days after health bosses agreed to the project, it was confirmed the Barclay ward - which will be scrapped in a new look hospital more geared to day surgery and clinics - will close in three months.

Fifteen nursing staff were affected, but Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital spokesman Andrew Stronach said things were "looking good", with most likely to be redeployed within the hospital.

Talks were under way with staff and union representatives. The number of patients involved was low, and would be absorbed into the N & N, he added.

There were also moves afoot to create extra car parking - an issue raised in the public consultation - by using the football ground opposite.

Public pleas to retain the hospital's distinctive gable end were being past to the architects. Planning permissions were still needed, but, after talks with officials, were not through to be a potential problem.

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Work is due to start on the new hospital in November, and take about 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile campaigners fighting for the survival of North Walsham's cottage hospital are demanding that health chiefs at Norfolk Primary Care Trust change the date and time of a crucial public consultation meeting.

They fear most working people, including local GPs, will not be able to attend the meeting, arranged for Tuesday April 24 from 10am to 2pm.

The Save Our Hospital group, led by the town council, is calling for a Saturday afternoon meeting instead, with an evening event as second choice.

The move was prompted by a similarly timed meeting at Cromer last week attended by just 50 people.

"It is absolutely essential that we keep on making a lot of noise. We have got to get at least 300 people to the meeting," said hospital supporter Roy Haynes.

The next community beds consultation in north Norfolk is at Holt on Wednesday in the community centre from 10am to 2pm.