Sidmouth Hospital to become modern healthcare hub with £1.3million upgrade

Plans to inject £1.3million into Sidmouth Hospital and transform it into a modern healthcare hub have been unveiled.

The Comforts Fund – the hospital’s League of Friends – announced the plans at a reception at the Westcliff Hotel in Sidmouth on Saturday 17 November.

Under the proposals, the hospital will have a new physiotherapy department, rehabilitation unit and gym area as well as an improved front entrance, reception and waiting room.

Pictured at Saturday’s reception are (from left) Stuart Hughes (Sidmouth Town Council chairman), Graham Vincent (Comforts Fund chairman), Jac Kelly (Trust chief executive), Steve Hudson (Trust divisional general manager), Emma Bagwell (hospital matron) and Sheelagh Michelmore (Comforts Fund president).
PHOTOS: Terry Ife, Sidmouth Herald

Work could start early next year and be completed by the spring of 2014.

It represents the fifth and final phase of a 23-year-old programme to upgrade the hospital.

An artist’s impression of the proposed new front entrance at Sidmouth Hospital.

Matron Emma Bagwell said: “This project sees the transition of Sidmouth from a cottage hospital into a vibrant, modern and professional hub of community health and social care.

“This is an exciting time for everyone involved in the project and the local community we serve – our patients will be the real winners.

“These new facilities will enhance the excellent service the hospital already provides, and the flexibility of space reflects the changing face of how we deliver healthcare.

“I cannot thank the Comforts Fund enough for their mammoth fundraising efforts over the years, and we look forward to continuing our association throughout this project and beyond.”

Under the plans:

  • The physiotherapy and occupational therapy units will be co-located in the main building alongside the main wards, outpatient area and complex care team
  • The kitchen will be moved, helping to create a canopied and more welcoming front entrance
  • A single reception and waiting room will be created, ensuring patients can easily navigate the hospital and receive a professional welcome to the building
  • The minor injury unit will be moved closer to the main wards, enabling easier access for patients and staff
  • The existing physiotherapy building will be demolished, allowing more room for visitor parking

Pictured with the plans are (from left) Frances Newth (East Devon District Council vice-chairman and Comforts Fund trustee), Emma Bagwell (hospital matron) and Graham Vincent (Comforts Fund chairman). 
PHOTOS: Terry Ife, Sidmouth Herald

The Comforts Fund has written a letter of intent to pay £750,000 while the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, has agreed to contribute £200,000.

The reception event in Sidmouth marked the launch of an appeal for the £350,000 needed to complete the project.

Graham Vincent, chairman of the Comforts Fund, said: “Back in 1989, at a committee meeting of the Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund, the trustees decided that a major upgrade was needed to take our hospital into the next century.

“The project was so massive that it had to be split into five phases. Four of these phases have been completed, costing between £3million and £3.5million.

“When phase five is finished, costing £1.3million, the Comforts Fund, through the help and generosity of local residents, will have provided a new hospital for Sidmouth.

“We are so very grateful to so many people – this is a hospital we are so passionate about.”

It is hoped East Devon District Council will approve the phase five plans in the next few weeks, with local construction firms being encouraged to tender for the work.

More information

  • The five phases to develop Sidmouth Hospital were agreed in 1989. Since then £3million to £3.5million has been spent on the first four phases, including work to refurbish the theatre and significantly improve the wards and X-ray department. The majority of this figure has been raised by the Comforts Fund, with excellent support from the local community.
  • There will be some disruption during the phase five work but the intention is for the hospital to remain open throughout.
  • To see full details of the plans, click here

Comforts Fund trustees Jenny Brewer (left) and Susan Davies 
PHOTOS: Terry Ife, Sidmouth Herald

Pictured are (from left) Frances Newth (East Devon District Council vice-chairman and Comforts Fund trustee), Judy Bashforth (Comforts Fund vice-president) and Anne Phelps (Comforts Fund trustee) 
PHOTOS: Terry Ife, Sidmouth Herald

Posted in News.

Last updated: March 6, 2018