No Budleigh health hub until next year?

PUBLISHED: 12:30 27 June 2016 | UPDATED: 15:31 27 June 2016

Budleigh Hospital

Budleigh Hospital

Archant

A pilot wellbeing hub project at the former Budleigh Salterton Hospital is unlikely to open on a permanent basis this year.

However, organisers behind the scheme are hopeful they can open the doors to show residents what the hub will offer.

The project, which has been spearheaded by Budleigh Hospital League of Friends, has been on hold due to issues surrounding the ownership of the site.

After a change of care provider for East Devon was agreed in principle, the ownership of community hospitals, such as Budleigh, was transferred to NHS property services.

Speaking at the league of friends’ AGM, chairman Dr David Evans said the transfer would take place later this year, meaning the hub was unlikely to open until the new year.

He said: “For us to be absolutely secure, there must be a signed contract between Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group and North Devon Foundation Trust.

“We have to wait until the process of due diligence has taken place.

“I am confident that the contract will be signed, possibly in early autumn.

“The transfer of ownership will not take place until the end of the year.

“A signing of a lease will allow the wellbeing hub to overcome the problems of commercial rents, and charge rents which are affordable for charitable organisations.”

Budleigh Salterton-based Dr Richard Mejzner, who launched the idea of the hub, said: “We have been caught in a terrible political whirlwind of changes and ownership problems - this is just one obstacle after another in front of us.

“It’s a bit out of our control and is looking like it’s going to be later in the year, but it will happen and we can get on with the project.”

Dr Mejzner also confirmed organisers of the hub are also hoping to show what the pilot project will offer during a one-off opening.

He added: “When we started four years ago, the thing that was really making me anxious was the threat to community services.

“We are hoping we could be able to open the doors while we’re waiting for the transfer of ownership.

“It seems like a shame to not use this time, if we can do that.”

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