New hospital to be built in Consett after plans approved
Plans to construct a new hospital in Consett as part of the UK government’s flagship 2019 election pledge have been given the green light.
Efforts to replace the outdated Shotley Bridge Hospital took a significant step forward on Tuesday as members of Durham County Council’s planning committee granted permission.
The new purpose-built community health facility on Genesis Way, situated opposite the Tesco Extra store, was one of the 40 new hospitals pledged by Boris Johnson to be built across the UK by 2030.
Jane Curry, Programme Manager for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This an exciting development for the local population in Derwentside and the wider County Durham healthcare community, it is part of the Government’s pledge to build or significantly expand 48 new hospitals. Shotley Bridge has been identified as a Cohort 2 development. We look forward to continuing discussions with our NHS colleagues and the local communities and progressing the scheme over the next few years.”
Although many of these schemes have faced budget pressures and delays, councillors expressed their relief that the new hospital in County Durham has finally received approval.
Health officials decided to proceed with the plans for the new facility after recognizing the need for extensive upgrades at Shotley Bridge. The proposal includes a 16-bed in-patient rehabilitation ward, urgent treatment centre, expanded chemotherapy suite and diagnostic provision.
Councillor Dominic Haney, who represents Consett South ward that covers the new facility’s site, said the existing hospital’s future has been uncertain for decades.
He said, “I know how important the hospital is to the local community, and it’s one of the key issues in the area. The existing facility desperately needs refurbishments or a new facility like this.”
However, the proposed bed numbers for the new facility were labelled as “inadequate” by the Liberal Democrat councillor.
“People are disappointed and angry that there will only be 16 beds. There was talk of 24 initially, and that should be the absolute minimum,” added Councillor Haney.
“While I’m not convinced that the number of beds is sufficient, Consett needs an improved community hospital, and I’m hopeful that it may even be extended in the future.”