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North Walsham hospital blow

PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:07 02 July 2010

Victoria Leggett

Campaigners fear the momentum behind plans to redevelop a north Norfolk hospital could be lost after it was announced the proposals would not go before NHS officials until July.

Campaigners fear the momentum behind plans to redevelop a north Norfolk hospital could be lost after it was announced the proposals would not go before NHS officials until July.

The plans, which have been the subject of years of campaigning, would see a 24-bed unit built at North Walsham Community Hospital and the refurbishment of Rebecca House.

Last month, a meeting with NHS Norfolk called by north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb left supporters of the hospital feeling optimistic that progress was finally being made.

It had been hoped a formal update on the plans would go before the NHS Norfolk board at its meeting this month - but that will no longer happen.

Yesterday, the Trust announced a “fully worked” proposal for the refurbishment of Rebecca House was set to go before the health chiefs in July, with plans for the 24-bed unit not due to be looked at until September.

Wendy Hardicker, NHS Norfolk's assistant director of out-of-hospital care, said community representatives had been and would continue to be fully informed of progress as the project developed.

Brian Elliott, the hospital friends' chairman, said the news quashed hopes work on site at Rebecca House could begin as early as October.

Mr Lamb said while he welcomed a specific timescale being set for the plans he was disappointed that it would not be earlier.

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