Department of Health approves funding for nine schemes accross UK

A £132m wave of community hospitals and “super-surgeries” is to be built across the country, the government has announced.

The Department of Health said it had approved funding for nine schemes in towns and cities around the UK.

It said facilities would be built or refurbished to boost primary care and after care services and provide more minor operations and medical tests.

The list of facilities set to be upgraded includes community hospitals in Malvern, Selby and the North Cotswolds.

There will also be a new health centre in Hartlepool, housing a GP practice as well as maternity and diagnostic services and walk-in clinic for patients with minor injuries.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said the schemes would be “welcome news” to local communities.

He said: “These developments represent our commitment to the biggest hospital building programme in the history of the NHS.

“What this means for patients today is that, in addition to being treated in bright, modern facilities, those in need of NHS treatment will be seen quicker - in 18 weeks or less by the end of 2008.

“We are not just building like-for-like replacements of existing buildings, we are re-thinking the way the NHS provides care so that patients receive better, more convenient services.”

The nine schemes are the latest to be given money from a £750m pot for community hospitals, health centres and polyclinics, pledged by the government in July 2006.

Twenty three projects have been approved so far, with a total value of £272m.