MASSIVE changes to health services in west Wiltshire are planned as part of a £52 million shake up of hospitals.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group announced this week that its governing body has approved a strategic outline case for the area that will include a new hospital which will be known as a hub, and have inpatient beds and probably a maternity unit, a smaller hospital to provide community healthcare services for outpatients and three urgent care centres.

This week interim chief officer of the commissioning group Linda Prosser said one of the urgent care centres would be in Trowbridge on the old Wiltshire Council east wing site. A birthing suite is included in the scheme to replace maternity at the hospital but this could change.

A spokesman for the health authority said: "We aim to have a clear understanding of which services we plan to provide from each type of facility by the end of this year. We therefore hope to be in a position to engage with people through the spring, with the aim of submitting an outline business plan at the end of next summer."

Dr Lucy Thompson, GP Partner at the Lovemead Group Practice in Trowbridge said: “This is an exciting time for Trowbridge, with the possibility of the award of government funds towards the building of a new healthcare facility.

"This will enable the NHS to continue to provide services as it does now for the whole town but in a more modern building. It will allow us to provide GP services for the growing Trowbridge population, and give us more space to develop new and more streamlined services.

"It also means that all Trowbridge GPs from across the different practices will work more closely together – something we’re looking forward to doing."

Trowbridge town councillor and chairman of Trowbridge Area Board, Graham Payne also welcomed the commitment to the town but hopes it will regain inpatient care. He said: "I think that, as county town and one that is growing so quickly, Trowbridge should have an inpatient facility. It was a mistake getting rid of the one we had and most people now have to go to Bath RUH or to other towns for treatment.

“It’s imperative that we keep the maternity unit. The NHS has been nibbling away at our maternity services but in my experience mothers prefer to be able to use a local facility, so it’s very important that we hold on to the services we have left.”

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