St George’s Hospital, Hornchurch, set for new centre of excellence

St George's Hospital

St George's Hospital - Credit: Archant

Hornchurch could be set for the multi-million pound health complex GPs have been pushing for after NHS England announced new plans for St George’s Hospital.

Uncertainty has surrounded the future of the Suttons Lane site, which has been empty since it closed in October 2012.

But NHS England and NHS Property Services, which owns it, has announced it will submit outline planning permission to Havering Council in January to build 300 new homes, along with a separate application for a health complex.

The news was welcomed by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has spent the past year trying to convince NHS of the need for health services to be based at the old hospital, amid fears it would be sold in its entirety.

But the group will still need to develop plans for the “centre of excellence”, which will then be reviewed.

Funds raised by selling the site will not directly influence the amount spent on the health centre, as the money is pooled centrally before being distributed evenly across the country.

Havering CCG chair and local GP Dr Atul Aggarwal said: “The delay has been frustrating but a lot has happened this year that adds weight to our case: new technology, GPs offering extended opening hours, new community services, new ways of helping patients with complex care issues, our wish for an education centre to be included and lots more.

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“We’d ask patients and the public to be patient for a little longer and we hope to have some good news in the coming months.”

Around 85 per cent of the site will be sold for housing, with the 15pc asked for by GPs used for the complex.

Andrew Strange, NHS Property Services’ Head of Planning and Development, said: “The site gives us an exciting opportunity to bring forward two developments that will benefit the community.

“While part of the site is set aside for health care use, local commissioners have declared the remainder surplus to requirements.”

The housing scheme takes account of the site’s context, and include proposals for access and parking and retaining some of the buildings and creating green spaces.

The site will be marketed to developers once the application is submitted and the buyer will hammer out the finer details with the council.

A drop-in session will be hosted by NHS Property Services at Hornchurch Library, North Street, on Monday between 2-8pm to discuss the plans.