NHS finances fuel concerns over future of Milford hospital

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Milford
Milford War Memorial Hospital

FEARS the Milford Hospital site could be sold off have been raised after it emerged owners NHS Property Services have made a financial loss for the last five years.

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The building, which is currently used by Hampshire NHS Clinical Care Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide a range of NHS services including a stroke clinic, leg ulcer clinic and physiotherapy, reportedly costs £150,000 a year to maintain.

Speaking at a meeting of Milford Parish Council, Cllr Mel Kendal claimed that despite an approach from Hampshire County Council, NHS Property Services had failed to respond.

He said: “NHS Property Services have made a loss every year for the last five years whilst still paying out a big bonus to their chief executive.

“My fear is that it could be trying to maximise what it can get from the Milford hospital site – in the same way that the Ministry of Defence does with its sites.”

Cllr Kendal continued: “Whether they are holding out for the hope that they can maximise the return by selling it for residential use I don’t know, but it certainly is a worry.”

The parish council heard HCC and the CCG had done “an enormous amount of work” on a scheme that could see the hospital reopened with up to 30 step-down beds for patients coming from Bournemouth and Southampton hospitals to alleviate bed blocking.

Cllr Kendal added that Oakhaven Hospice was also interested in being involved and it was hoped the site could include some end-of-life care beds.

Cllr Bob Bishop said: “We have an aging population in Milford and the CCG held a consultation on the future of the hospital almost a year ago.

“People are wondering what is going on and when you contact NHS Property Services, it’s impossible to get any kind of response.”

Following the meeting, the parish council wrote to local MP Sir Desmond Swayne to highlight growing concern over the future of the hospital site, pointing out that a public consultation took place in October 2017.

The letter continued: “Since this time (October 2017) there has been little or no information received on any discussions relating to the hospital and what current intentions NHS Properties have for this well used hospital.”

The parish council also claims that other venues have been approached to accommodate the medical services which are currently run from the hospital site, which it described as a “very worrying development”.

Asked by the A&T to comment, the CCG and NHS Property Services said in a statement that no formal proposals have been submitted for the future use of the hospital site.

It continued: “Feedback from local people has shown strong support for health and wellbeing services to be provided ‘close to home’ in Milford-on-Sea.

“This feedback is being used to help shape the next steps in the decisions around Milford-on-Sea War Memorial Hospital.

“West Hampshire CCG is working closely with Milford-on-Sea War Memorial Hospital League of Friends, NHS Property Services and local partners to look at options for future provision in line with local population health needs.”

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