Work under way on Budleigh's new health hub
PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 March 2017
Work has begun to convert the former Budleigh Salterton Hospital into a community health and wellbeing hub, two years after closing.
It has been announced that a lease for the building has been signed between owner NHS Property Services and Westbank Healthy Living Centre, which will now work with The League of Friends of Budleigh Salterton Hospital to refurbish the building.
A licence for construction has also been signed and work has begun to create the hub this week.
Dr David Evans, chairman of The League of Friends of Budleigh Salterton Hospital, said: “The hospital and grounds will now be sealed off for building and refurbishment.
“NHS Property Services will be repairing defects in the roof, and the league of friends, in conjunction with Westbank Healthy Living Centre, will address the refurbishment of the hospital.
“This work will be completed by the end of June or early July ready for the wellbeing hub to be opened.”
The hospital was closed to the public in 2015 and an £800,000 agreement was reached to transform it into the hub. It had been hoped the hub would be open the following autumn, but after a change of ownership of community hospitals in East Devon, the move was put on hold.
The building was transferred to the ownership of NHS Property Services, which is tasked with obtaining a commercial rent from its properties.
A lease for the building has now been signed following negotiations between the NHS, the league of friends and Westbank.
It is hoped the new hub will be open by this summer.
Dr Evans added: “Non-bed related clinical services, such as physiotherapy, audiology and podiatry, will return and form an important aspect of the wellbeing hub.
“Community and practice nurse clinics will be a particularly welcomed facility.”
Speaking at a council meeting this week, Dr Brian Taylor said Age Concern was looking forward to moving into the new hub.