Plans to develop a new health and wellbeing campus on the site of the Shepton Mallet Community Hospital site are progressing well, but the Chairman of the scheme's project group has cautioned that such a major development will take at least two or three years to realise.
In November last year Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the GP led organisation that now plans and funds the county's health services, supported the project group’s request to progress onto the detailed planning and costing for the new health campus proposal.
At a meeting held last week, the Chairman of the group Dr Harvey Sampson, reported that a strategic outline case was now well progressed and NHS Property Services, the organisation who would be developing the hospital site, was now carrying out further detailed costing to understand what options will be most affordable.
The proposed health campus will include more ‘one stop’ styled outpatient clinics, inpatient beds, a Minor Injury Unit linked to urgent care and out-of-hours medical services; mental health clinics, a base for therapy services, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy and district nurses; a community information centre and more car parking.
The health campus also includes a proposal to relocate the Grove House Surgery from West
Shepton into new and purpose built premises upon the community hospital site. Ongoing talks are taking place between the surgery’s family doctors, NHS England and NHS Property Services to understand the most viable options for achieving this.
Campus Project Group Chairman, Dr Sampson, explained: "The development of a health and wellbeing campus for Shepton Mallet is a tremendously exciting project and offers an ambitious vision of health services which could be the envy of many other communities.
"We have listened to patients, carers, NHS staff and the public and want a scheme which most closely reflects their needs and wishes, but we also know the scheme has to be affordable and stand up the detailed scrutiny of Somerset CCG, NHS England and NHS Property Services . There is further planning and negotiations to take place over the coming months and many more stages to follow. The process of planning and developing a new health facility can seem slow but this is a similar experience when embarking upon any major building project."
The Shepton Mallet Health and Wellbeing Campus Project Group are now progressing with the high level planning of the scheme. This includes exploring the procurement options to develop services upon the health campus site.
NHS England and NHS Property Services have shown their commitment to the project by signing off a Project Initiation Document (PID), indicating that they are satisfied the scheme can proceed to develop a Strategic Outline Case, which will inform, the high level planning and affordability of the scheme.