Dismay As Putney Hospital Plans Abandoned

Edward Lister criticises local NHS chiefs over the long–running hospital issue

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His criticism follows a board meeting yesterday (Wednesday) of the local primary care trust NHS Wandsworth, which decided that their redevelopment plans for the hospital site were to be abandoned.

Since the hospital closed in 1998, around £3 million has been spent by the PCT on security, maintaining the building and engaging consultants and architects to draw up redevelopment plans.

The latest scheme, which was granted planning permission in 2006, would have seen the site redeveloped to provide new accommodation for three local GP practices, a café, pharmacy and facilities for health visitors, district nurses, chiropodists and other clinics.

Money from the sale of 24 new apartments built at the northern end of the site would have been used to finance the construction costs of these new community health facilities

But at yesterday's board meeting it was decided that as a result of funding problems within the NHS in London , coupled with the fall in property prices, the redevelopment plans were to be shelved.

The PCT has now agreed to keep the hospital mothballed until they are able to secure new accommodation elsewhere in Putney to house the three GP practices. Once this has been done, they are expected to sell the site to developers.

Reacting to the news
Cllr Lister said,"This whole sorry saga has dragged on for more than a decade and seen around £3 million of taxpayers' money squandered. Eleven years down the line we are back at square one, with an empty and derelict hospital building lying vacant and no plans at all to bring it back into health use.

"The real underlying story here is that the serious financial problems facing the NHS in London mean that even if the new clinics and GP practices were built - there is no money to run the services there. What is likely to happen now is that the PCT will sell the whole site to property developers. Unfortunately all the money raised from this sale will almost certainly end up in the Treasury's coffers and none of it will be available to improve the borough's healthcare facilities.

"It is also extremely unlikely that any of the cash generated from the sale will be available to reimburse the £3 million that local NHS bosses have already spent on getting where they are now. What is important now is that the PCT finds suitable premises for the three GP clinics that have to be rehoused without any further delay and that they also proceed with the sale of the hospital site as quickly as possible so that this land can at least be brought back into use and no more public money is wasted."

October 1, 2009