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Future of St George’s Hospital site, Hornchurch, once again in doubt after NHS restructure

12:00 04 October 2013

St George's Hospital shortly after its closure last October

St George's Hospital shortly after its closure last October

Archant

Hornchurch could be robbed of its promised multi-million pound health complex.

The GPs in charge of commissioning Havering’s health services have been told they no longer have the power to propose a building development on the St George’s Hospital site – because they don’t own it any more.

Instead, they must show a clinical need for the services – and councillors aren’t sure one exists.

“All the services they are proposing could easily go into health centres,” said Cllr Nic Dodin, vice- chairman of Havering Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee. “NHS England would be right to refuse the proposal.”

As part of this year’s NHS reorganisation, which involved GPs taking over commissioning on April 1, St George’s and its estate in Suttons Lane are now in the hands of NHS England.

That means if the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can’t convince NHS England that there is a clinical need for the site, it could be sold in its entirety.

If this happens, the money won’t go back into Havering, as would have been the case before April, but into a central pot.

The CCG is confident it can reach an agreement with NHS England that will look similar to its original plans. But with local GP practices muted in their enthusiasm for moving to the new site, it may face an uphill battle.

A spokesman for Havering Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are confident that our original plans for a centre of excellence on part of the St George’s site remain valid and that they represent the best way of providing much needed, joined up health services, particularly for older people in Havering.

“We continue to work hard to make the case for the new facility – that hasn’t changed – and are progressing with our plans.

“What has changed is simply the way the government now funds these projects. Basically, all property previously owned by PCTs has transferred to a new central body called NHS Property Services.”

Pick up today’s Romford Recorder for an in-depth report on the future of St George’s.

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